How to fix your home’s air quality issues
Composite shelving and other composite board products are widely used to support large-scale home construction.
But the panels are made from recycled materials and are also vulnerable to moisture, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Composite boards are widely viewed as a low-cost, easy-to-install solution for reducing emissions of particulate matter, a major contributor to air pollution.
But a study of homes and apartments in Portland, Ore., found that composite boards may have serious air quality impacts, particularly if they are used indoors.
The study found that the quality of the indoor air was more important than the amount of particulates emitted indoors.
A majority of indoor samples contained more than 40 micrograms of carbon dioxide per cubic meter of air, which is equivalent to more than 1,000 times the level of a typical human exhaled.
The paper authors suggest that reducing indoor air quality can be achieved through the use of indoor air pollution control equipment, such as dust-containment devices and ventilation systems.
They say that there is also a need to look at alternative ways to reduce indoor air pollutants, including reducing the amount and types of construction materials that are used.
They also recommend that policymakers work to reduce the amount or types of materials used in new homes.
A new study of home construction in Portland suggests that reducing the use and use of composite board material may be a key component to reducing indoor pollution.
Composite board material is used to help support large scale construction and is widely viewed by many as a cheap and easy-of-use solution for air quality concerns.
However, the authors found that a large proportion of indoor composite board samples contained pollutants that exceeded the EPA’s standard for fine particulate air pollution, with nearly 80 percent of samples exceeding the EPA threshold for PM10.
This means that a majority of the composite boards sampled in the study were emitting more than 30 microgram of PM10 per cubic metre of air.
This finding is troubling, because indoor air contains more PM10 than outdoor air, and the PM10 concentrations in the indoor composite boards exceeded the limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To reduce outdoor PM10, manufacturers typically add carbon filters to outdoor boards.
But these filters are typically not designed to remove carbon dioxide from the air.
While it is not known what effect this pollution may have on indoor air, the paper authors say that using carbon filters for outdoor composite boards would increase indoor PM10 levels.
The researchers say that this pollution has a direct impact on the health of residents and visitors.
A large majority of composite boards that were found to have indoor pollutants exceeded the threshold for fine PM10 by up to 50 percent.
Additionally, the researchers say, the use or presence of the materials used to build the composite board may have been linked to changes in the composition of the air in a home.
A substantial number of the samples were from homes with multiple occupancy.
The authors also found that indoor air samples with high concentrations of PM2.5 particles, the particles that can cause asthma and other respiratory problems, were also associated with higher indoor PM2 and PM10 pollution levels.
While these findings suggest that the use, or use of the material used to construct the composite is a major contributing factor to the elevated indoor PM pollution levels in Portland homes, the study authors acknowledge that there are other ways to mitigate indoor air pollutant emissions.
For example, the team suggests that home owners and builders be aware of the environmental impact of their own home construction practices.
They recommend that builders and home owners develop a comprehensive air quality plan that includes building practices that reduce the use to building materials and materials that support outdoor construction.
They suggest that home builders and homeowners be encouraged to incorporate these strategies into their plans, including using the construction materials to build more sustainable, energy efficient, and eco-friendly structures.
The team also suggests that building codes be changed to include a requirement that builders use composite boards in their construction plans.
“These findings raise the urgent need for better understanding of the effects of the use by home builders of recycled materials on indoor PM air,” the authors write.
“The widespread use of materials with poor air quality attributes is increasing the risk for indoor air contaminants.”
Source: University of Chicago