"Americans spend the majority of our time indoors, whether it's in our home, school or office.
Yet indoor air is estimated to be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency lists poor indoor air quality as the fourth largest environmental threat to our country. It has been associated with a range of symptoms including headache, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Specific diseases such as Legionnaires' disease, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and humidifier fever have been directly traced to specific building-based problems. In addition, exposure to toxins such as asbestos and radon may not cause immediate symptoms but can lead to cancer years after exposure.
Other building-related concerns that can affect health include poor lighting, excessive noise and heating and cooling issues.
How is it that the buildings we spend the most time in -- raising our families, learning, earning a living -- can be the most toxic? What can we do about it, what sort of recourse do we have? Please read on, as the contributors to this month's Environmental Health Policy Institute aim to answer those questions."