According to the EPA research, on average, the air inside our homes and offices typically contain levels of pollutants 2-5 times higher than the air outside and in extreme cases can be 100 times more contaminated. The average American spends about 90% of their time inside. It is no wonder that the EPA ranked indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that indoor air pollution costs our country between $15 and $100 billion each year in related health care costs.
The materials used to build and furnish our homes contain a variety of synthetic materials from carpets, paint and foam cushions to insulation and chemically treated pressed wood products. These products, known as VOC's (volatile organic compounds), outgas. This means that the chemical compounds they contain break down with age and are slowly released into the air over time in the form of toxic fumes. In one study of VOCs, the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that while outdoor air at sampled sites contained less than 10 VOCs, indoor air at those same sites contained 150 VOCs!
In addition to these staggering facts, many of the chemicals used in the production of numerous products that we, as consumers, use every day (e.g., plastics, detergents, hormones such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, antibiotics in animal feed as well as lawn and garden chemicals) contribute to hormone imbalance and create toxic buildups in our systems contributing to a host of illnesses. Many homeowners use a large number of petrochemical cleaners and other toxic products like pesticides, disinfectants, and air deodorizers liberally around the house. These products produce hazardous fumes when used and leave residues behind that then gradually dissolve into the air over time. The constant application of such a wide variety of chemical compounds throughout the average home greatly increases both the number of dangerous indoor air pollutants and their concentration levels. In addition to all of this, we are exposed every day to chemicals in personal care products and cleaning supplies. It is no wonder our bodies become overloaded and may even develop MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity), or EI (Environmental Illness) and that we have SBS (Sick Building Syndrome).