Do people care about indoor air quality?

I subscribe to Consumer Reports magazine.  In the June 2012 edition, there was a feature article on indoor air quality.  It talks about all the regular stuff: mold, radon, carbon monoxide, VOCs, etc.

What I found interesting is that the Consumer Reports National Research Center performed a survey to ascertain the importance of indoor air quality to the US consumer.  What percent of Americans do you think considered indoor air quality to be a threat to their health?

A paltry 9% considered it be a threat to health.  Furthermore, an astounding 70% weren’t concerned about indoor air quality at all!   If everyone understood how the indoor environment affect health, more than 9% would consider it to be an important threat.

Do you think Consumer Reports numbers are accurate?  Please comment on my blog!



By Ian Cull

I'm I.A.N. the Indoor Air Nerd. I'm a speaker and consultant on indoor air quality issues. To learn more about me, click "about" at the top of this page.

11 replies on “Do people care about indoor air quality?”

Your article was really an eye opener and brings the meaning of indoor Air Quality to the forefront.
As guess that if it doesn’t smell don’t worry about it. It’s hard to believe that only 9% are concerned. Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that billions of dollars are spent every year on medication to help Americans breathe better or cure their respiratory illnesses, including such ailments as asthma, hay fever and other allergies. The smell industry sprays, candles, ozone and ionizer machines and other means is a 4 billion a year business.

Wow. Makes me wonder who’s telling them what (or not speaking up) in the communities they surveyed. Did the report disclose who they surveyed and why? What they were asking or was it that simple? I wonder what those same people would say about the work-place IAQ.

Matt and Jason, I’m as surprised by the numbers as you are! Unfortunately, I can’t find any additional information about the survey they performed. We don’t know sample size, margin of error, etc. so it’s hard to place much trust in the data.

I think those numbers are totally credible and valid, depending on location. I can assure you if you polled the public in places like Central Illinois, Arkansas or Iowa to name a few, most people would not have any concern about this topic. The general public still believes that air quality problems are outside, not in THEIR house !

From a business standpoint, that explains why IAQ professionals are better off marketing their services through healthcare professionals and other trades rather than through advertising in the general media.

When I first started my business, I took out a bunch of ads and signed up to be an exhibitor at Home Shows and Health Fairs in the Midwest region where I practiced. Big flop ! I was astonished at the number of people who went by my booth saying things like “Doesn’t apply to me” or “I don’t want to know”. In an entire day, less than a dozen people would show an interest. The hundreds of others were hurrying past my booth to get to that new garage door display or to the stinky candle booth LOL!

We have a lot of educating to do!

Oboy, Ian…these numbers are right in line with my clients’ paradigm towards indoor air. To make a living I perform custom home repair and occasionally revert to my actual trade as Certified Mold Assessor.

Never fear…there is a phenom that is little discussed but extremely powerful, and that is this business of symbiosis. When microscopic things get together the result can be explosive. One day our “nerdy” vocation will be central to mankind’s survival, of that I am certain. Meanwhile, I have a house to paint.

I care about the indoor air quality that has made me quite sick but being on permanent disability has made my ability to seek help next to impossible. I live in Toronto Canada and was so shocked to learn that the health department doesn’t have a indoor air quality department for privately owned residential buildings leaving me at odds with the property owner. I had, no choice, but to get the human rights commission involved and am now moving into another apartment in the same building because I cannot afford to move out completely. Now on medications just to breathe better, I’m hoping to be able to move soon. But in the mean time, I cannot believe what is happening to me. I strongly appreciate this blog. Keep up the good work and wish me luck.

Indoor air quality should be good and dust free as it can cause various allergies or disease. We should concern about our environment and ensure that it must be kept clean and safe for the benefit of your health.

I think their #s are probably right. Although, many of us are becoming a lot more health conscious and trying to improve in areas wherever we can. I think people just assume that their indoor air is fine, but in reality there are so many factors that can cause it to be dangerous to your health.

Hi, I wish people were more concerned with indoor air quality. Should each of us be testing our indoor air? I live in a mid rise building on the 7th floor so I’m assuming this may be a bit better but am still concerned. Should we be using air purifiers 24/7 and if so what are the best ones? We have 2 Whirlpool Whispure Air Purifiers, HEPA Air Cleaners, AP51030K we bought in 2012. We used to use them all the time but don’t much anymore since moving. So wasn’t sure if we should throw these out or start using them again? Thanks

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