Asthma could be worsened by energy-efficient homes, warns study
“Many people spend 70-80% of their time at home, or even as much as 90% indoors if you include workplaces.
Given that the average person takes in 500 litres of air an hour, if the air you are breathing in is polluted, you can imagine how much of this pollution is going to be absorbed,” he added.
He fears that increasingly airtight houses in which too little fresh air gets in are causing indoor air quality to deteriorate and preventing pollutants from being dispersed quickly.
Humidity caused by poor ventilation also helps the proliferation of mould and house dust mites, which can cause asthma and other allergic conditions, according to Professor Peter Howarth, a professor of allergy and respiratory diseases at Southampton University.
Formaldehyde, a toxic gas emitted by wooden furniture, can also be problematic, added Howarth, who said he believed Awbi’s estimates were a realistic assessment of the harm to human health if building regulations are not overhauled to improve ventilation and ensure “air exchange”.
Simply opening windows to let in fresh air is not enough, and some form of mechanical ventilation is needed, according to Awbi.