Indoor Air Quality in New Zealand Homes and Schools
Most urban dwellers spend around 90% of their time indoors (Kostinen et al., 2008) either at home, work or in an educational facility. When air quality is poor, the exposure to pollutants is prolonged, and the occupant's health can be adversely affected.
Indoor air is generally more contaminated than outdoor air by the order of several magnitudes.
The poor quality of many New Zealand homes is causal of some significant acute and chronic health issues. Low indoor temperatures and dampness are a common theme in these.
New Zealand is leading the developed world in some of the wrong statistics. New Zealand has:
- the second highest rate of asthma - asthma affects one in four children and costs $4 million per year
- the highest rate of hospitalisations from skin infections - this rate is double that of either Australia or USA and has doubled in the last decade
- one of the worst rates of rheumatic fever, which can be the result of streptococcus throat infections
- the highest rate of excess winter mortality in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- a very high rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with an onset at an average age of 55 years old for Māori and 65 years old for Pākehā
- a high rate of fuel poverty, which is increasing as fuel prices are rising faster than incomes.
This guide is a literature review of healthy homes and schools with emphasis on the issues pertinent to New Zealand.