Fine particles cause poor air quality in most Dutch homes.
The air quality in 1 in 7 Dutch homes is insufficient for most of the day due to particulate matter. This is clear from the first results of a study commissioned by the Longfonds.
“Too much particulate matter, insufficient ventilation, moisture problems and fungi do not seem so harmful at first sight, but can lead to fatigue, tightness of the chest, infections of the respiratory tract and long term lung diseases such as asthma and COPD.”
The research is carried out by Blauw Research among Dutch households. A special sensor is used to measure the content of CO2, particulate matter (PM2.5), humidity and temperature for a period of nine months. The participants in the study also completed questionnaires.
Increased concentrations of particulate matter have been measured in almost all houses. This occurs mainly at the beginning of the evening. Particulate matter also comes in from the outside. Fine dust is a collective term for all kinds of floating minuscule particles, which can penetrate deep into the lungs. In the house, the particles are released by, among other things, firing and roasting, burning candles or the fireplace. The measurements also show that the concentrations of CO2 increase during the evening, when most residents are at home. In 1 in 10 houses, the recommended values are even exceeded for more than a quarter of the day.
Indoor air expert Froukje van Dijken of BBA Indoor Environment is not surprised by the results: “We know from previous research that indoor air quality in homes often leaves something to be desired. That’s why it’s good and important that large-scale research is now being carried out into ways to increase residents’ awareness of air quality in the home.”
Too much particulate matter, insufficient ventilation, moisture problems and fungi do not seem so harmful at first sight, but can lead to fatigue, tightness of the chest, infections of the respiratory tract and in the long term lung diseases such as asthma and COPD. Michael Rutgers: “People spend more than 20 hours of their time indoors. It’s important that the air there is healthy.”
According to the researchers, increased concentrations of particulate matter were measured in almost all homes. “Many Dutch people do not know that they breathe polluted air in their homes and that this can lead to health problems. It appears that 90% of households had never studied indoor air quality before. “Previously, I had no idea about the air quality in the home. Now, with the sensor, I see that cooking has a huge impact on the air quality in the home. That really surprised me”, says participant Ad Brenters. The next phase of the research will look at whether insight into the air quality in the home will also lead to residents taking measures to make the indoor air healthier.