February is National Cancer Prevention Month—a perfect time to talk about the relationship between cancer and indoor air quality. This awareness month is not to be confused with National Cancer Research Month, which occurs every May. The difference between the two? National Cancer Research month emphasizes the importance of lifesaving research for the millions of people impacted by cancer globally. Whereas National Cancer Prevention Month is a time to discuss preventive measures in order to reduce the number of cancer cases and cancer-related deaths. Here’s how improving indoor air quality works as a preventive measure.
Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Cause Cancer?
The connection between air pollution and lung cancer is no secret. A prime example of this connection is the relationship between radon and lung cancer. Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that emits radioactive byproducts into the air as it decays. In the United States, exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. But radon isn’t the only carcinogenic air pollutant.
A new study suggests that there is a connection between air pollution and other types of cancer. This includes breast, liver and pancreatic cancer. Two research teams, one in Hong Kong and the other in the United Kingdom, found that long-term exposure to particulate matter, specifically PM2.5, resulted in an increased risk for cancer in various organs. The authors provided several reasons for their conclusion. Defects in DNA repair function and replication, inflammation of the gut lining epithelial cells, alterations in immune response, and the resulting effects on gut microbiota may be to blame.
Regardless of the catalyst, the connection is clear: certain air pollutants are proven carcinogens. Fortunately, there is a way to minimize the relationship between air pollution and cancer. It requires intervening in your space.
IAQ Control and Cancer Prevention
You’re likely asking yourself how indoor air quality control is related to cancer prevention. Well, let’s take a step back. Indoor air quality control is extremely effective at eliminating pollutants. Air pollutants that are known to cause cancer can be reduced via indoor air quality control solutions, thus helping minimize exposure and prevent cancer.
IAQ solutions that help eliminate cancer-causing air pollutants include:
- Air Filters: A high-efficiency home air filter (MERV 11+ rating) captures viruses, bacteria, particulate matter, smoke, mold spores, dust and various other air pollutants.
- Whole-Home Active Air Purifiers: Whole-home systems that utilize bipolar ionization encourage air pollutants to clump together. These enlarged air pollutants are easier for air filters to capture. That is, specifically active air systems that are verified minimal or non-ozone producing devices.
- Air Quality Monitors: In addition to providing basic climate information, an air quality monitor notifies you when there is an increase in pollutant levels. Overall, a greater awareness of your indoor air quality leads to healthier home habits. The HAVEN IAQ monitor specifically also monitors the lifespan of your air filter. This will allow you time to change the air filter before it begins to circulate old air pollutants.
- Mechanical Ventilation: Whole-home balanced mechanical ventilation refers to energy recovery systems and heat recovery systems. Each technology has its advantages depending upon the climate in which you live. However, they both contribute to improved indoor air quality by removing stale indoor air and replacing it with fresh filtered outdoor air. It is an excellent alternative to natural ventilation.
Using IAQ Solutions to Combat Cancer
Cancer is a relentless disease that has affected millions of families around the globe. By implementing and sharing indoor air quality solutions, you are contributing to National Cancer Prevention Month. Homeowners, protect yourself and your family by reducing the risk of cancer-causing pollution exposure in your space with indoor air quality solutions.