Better Indoor Air Quality Means Healthier Children

Today's children spend more than 90% of their time indoors -- at home (especially with the lure of personal computers and video games), school, hockey arenas and shopping malls. But did you know that research has shown that concentrations of pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors?

Children are most susceptible to indoor air pollution as their small bodies and undeveloped immune systems are less able to effectively cope. Also, children’s lungs are still developing and they have a higher metabolic rate, which means they require more oxygen. They breathe three times faster than adults -- as such, they tend to absorb three times more pollutants and toxic vapours than adults, according to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

How Indoor Air Quality Affects Children

According to the Environmental Contamination and Toxicology Institute, until a child is approximately 13 months old, they have virtually no ability to fight the biological and neurological effects of toxic chemicals. A child’s immune system is not fully developed until they are approximately 12 years old.

According to the Canadian Institute of Child Health, children are exposed daily to a toxic soup of chemicals in their water, air and food. This exposure may explain the dramatic rise in childhood cancers, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome and behavioral problems. The chronic, low-level exposure to mould, pesticides, smog, food additives, airborne pollutants and other chemicals could also create a host of public-health problems for coming generations.

An Increase in Hyperactivity and Asthma

A Canadian study conducted on hyperactivity disorder found that 11% of children have been diagnosed with the disorder, compared to less than 3% more than two decades ago. Behavioural problems such as ADD and ADHD have long been linked to exposure to toxic chemicals and mould.

Parents who keep a spotless house may actually be inadvertently triggering an asthma attack in their children. According to Australian researchers, toddlers exposed to fumes from solvents and cleaning products at home are most at risk. Polishes, room fresheners and new carpets were some of the triggers. Children exposed to the highest levels of volatile organic compounds were four times more likely to have asthma.

Based on an article by Caroline David, Five Seasons Comfort / Electro-Air Canada