Sunday 30 November 2014

Toxic Home Syndrome

UK homes are at risk of ‘Toxic Home Syndrome’

The air inside your home is causing more damage to your health than the air outside1

Results from an exclusive Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) home study reveal UK households are at risk of experiencing aggravated health problems due to poor air quality inside the home.

The independent study tested the air quality in British homes; analysing the level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) present in the air. Out of the 122 homes tested in the UK, only 9% were considered in the normal category of recommended level of pollutant concentration, with the remaining 91% of homes above the recommended level2.

“At the normal level, non-chemically sensitive individuals should not experience health issues from VOCs. As the TVOC level increases into the moderate, elevated or severe levels, individuals may experience aggravated health problems, and therefore, the need to address VOC issues becomes more critical” says indoor air quality expert Tim Robinson.

Mould is one of the key factors of poor indoor air quality and health risk. According to a new YouGov consumer survey, 58% of respondents have experienced mould or condensation in their home; with 19% of those have already suffered from a respiratory or dermatological condition while the remaining 81% could be at risk3.

As we move towards winter, condensation and mould become more prominent as we close windows and make our homes more airtight. Moulds release allergens, irritants and toxic substances that have been linked to immune system disorders such as asthma and allergies1. Other pollutants released by items around the home – such as fireplaces, candles, air fresheners, textiles, furniture, cleaning products paint and detergents3 - add to this, creating  a potent ‘pollutant soup’ in the home.

Peter Howarth, Professor of Allergy and Respiratory medicine at Southampton University, calls for increased awareness of what is being termed ‘Toxic Home Syndrome’. He comments: “There is a lot of noise about how outdoor air pollution affects your health, but we should look closer to home as this is where we spend most of our time. Indoor air can be more hazardous than outdoor air, particularly in young children and the elderly and where air quality is poorest. ‘Toxic home syndrome’ occurs when families are exposed to a potent mix of airborne pollutants arising from poor home ventilation, causing respiratory and skin diseases to occur more frequently.”

For more information on ‘Toxic Home Syndrome’, expert advice and top tips or to find out if your health and home is at risk visit  

1 Camfil Farr (2012) Clean Air is a Human Right Report
2 Prism & Waverton Analytics (2013) IAQ Home Study
3 YouGov Consumer Survey (2014) Air Quality


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