What if we told you that there’s a link between the air that you breathe indoors and the way that your brain works? Seems there’s a strong link between indoor air quality and cognitive function. Researchers had a group of professionals work in the same office for six days. During that time, the subjects were exposed to differing levels of ventilation, carbon dioxide and the types of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) common in indoor environments. Each day, their cognitive abilities were tested. The scientists found that where air was better ventilated and had lower carbon dioxide and VOC concentrations, subjects scored significantly higher in cognitive function compared with those in conventional office building conditions. The tests measured various areas of mental performance, including the ability to gather and apply information and the ability to plan, prioritize, and sequence actions.
Good indoor air requires comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building. To improve the air quality in your home, try to eliminate as many individual sources of pollution as possible, increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors, and control temperature and humidity levels. In the kitchen, always turn on the ventilation hood when cooking and use the backburner whenever possible. In bedrooms and living areas, try to eliminate carpets and curtains. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. An air purifier can help, too. If you’re dealing with particulate matter, such as mold, mildew, dust mites and animal dander, look for a quality HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.