2018-05-15 20:16:28 UTC
'Indoor generation': A quarter of Americans spend all day inside, survey
A quarter of Americans spend almost an entire 24 hours without going outside
and downplay the negative health effects of only breathing indoor air,
according to a new survey claiming a new "indoor generation."
"We are increasingly turning into a generation of indoor people where the
only time we get daylight and fresh air mid-week is on the commute to work
or school," Peter Foldbjerg, the head of daylight energy and indoor climate
at VELUX, a window manufacturing company, said in a statement.
VELUX commissioned the "Indoor Generation Report," published Tuesday, that
found 77 percent of Americans don't believe that breathing air inside is any
worse than pollution outside.
It's unclear how dangerous indoor air is in the modern era - reports by the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evaluating indoor air quality are from
1987 and 1989, which found that it is two to five times more polluted than
Humidity, mold growth, inadequate temperature and being in close quarters
with other people are all cited risks associated with poor air quality
"When people are asked about air pollution they tend to think of living near
big factories or busy urban areas with high levels of car emissions," Mr.
"It uncovers a need for further awareness and education about the impact our
indoor living habits are having on our body and minds in terms of health and
A 2013 report by the World Health Organization found that people spend about
90 percent of their time inside.
The "Indoor Generation Report" surveyed 16,000 people from 14 countries in
Europe and North America about their knowledge and perceptions of indoor vs
outdoor air quality and the amount of time spent inside.
Of the results for Americans, a quarter said they spend between 21 and 24
hours inside; 20 percent said they spend 19 to 20 hours a day inside and 21
percent say they spend between 15 and 18 hours inside.
Thirty-four percent said they spend between zero and 14 hours inside.
Great Britain and Canada had similar results to the U.S., with 23 and 26
percent of its respondents saying they spend between 21 and 24 hours inside.
The countries with the highest percentage of people who spend the lowest
amount of time inside were Italy (57 percent), the Czech Republic (57
percent) and the Netherlands (51 percent). This group said they only spend
between zero and 14 hours indoors.
The authors recommend that people be conscious of how much time they are
inside and make an effort to get out more. Other tips for making an indoor
space healthier is to clean regularly; don't burn candles; dry clothes
outside; turn on the fan when cooking; and open windows at least three to
four times a day to let fresh air in.
The EPA also suggests taking more concrete steps, to identify and fix
sources of indoor pollution - such as asbestos, gas leaks and mold, and
improve ventilation throughout the home to increase the flow of outdoor air