Indoor air quality (IAQ) in Malaysia has become an increasingly significant concern in recent years. The rapid pace of urbanisation and industrialisation has led to a surge in air pollution, and the problem is exacerbated by the high humidity and warm weather conditions in the country.
As people spend most of their time indoors, the quality of the air they breathe has a significant impact on their health and well-being. Poor IAQ can cause or aggravate respiratory illnesses, allergies, and other health problems.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of maintaining healthy IAQ, as the virus can be transmitted through the air. Therefore, there is a growing need for Malaysia to prioritize indoor air quality monitoring in public and private spaces to ensure a healthy and safe indoor environment for its citizens.
What Is Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality or IAQ refers to the quality of the air inside buildings, including homes, offices, schools, and other indoor environments. IAQ is determined by several factors, including the presence of pollutants, humidity levels, temperature, ventilation, and other indoor environmental factors.
Poor IAQ can lead to health problems such as respiratory illnesses, allergies, headaches, and fatigue. Common indoor air pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and radon gas.
Other factors that can affect IAQ include building design, maintenance, and cleaning practices, as well as the presence of mould and other biological contaminants. Improving IAQ requires identifying and addressing sources of pollution, increasing ventilation, and maintaining optimal humidity and temperature levels.
Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality in Malaysia
There are several factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in Malaysia, ranging from outdoor air pollution to human activities and building design. In this subsection, we will explore some of the most significant causes of poor IAQ in Malaysia.
There are several causes of poor IAQ in Malaysia, some of which include:
- Allergens can set off an allergic reaction in a person’s body; they can circulate in the air and linger on carpets and furniture for months.
- Asbestos is a fibrous substance that was historically used to create noncombustible or fireproof construction materials, including siding, insulation, and roof shingles. Sometimes too minute to detect, asbestos fibres can be released into the air by disturbing asbestos rocks or asbestos-containing objects. It is well known that asbestos causes human cancer.
- Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas with no odour. Fumes are created when fuel is used in a vehicle, a small engine, a stove, a lantern, a grill, a fireplace, a gas range, or a furnace. Proper venting and exhaust systems stop air buildup.
- Some pressed wood furniture, wood particle cabinets, floors, carpets, and textiles contain the pungent chemical formaldehyde. Additionally, various types of glue, adhesives, paints, and coating products may incorporate it as a component. It is well known that formaldehyde causes human cancer.
- A naturally occurring metal called lead has been utilised in many different items, including paint, batteries, solder, ceramics, paint plumbing pipes, and cosmetics.
- Different moulds may be found everywhere, both indoors and outside. Mould is a microorganism and form of fungus that thrives in wet environments.
- Pesticides are chemicals that eradicate, deter, or manage specific plant or insect pests.
- Radon is a colourless, odourless gas produced naturally when radioactive materials decay in the soil. It can get inside structures through cracks or openings. Most exposure occurs at work, in schools, and in families.
- Formaldehyde and lead are harmful substances found in smoke, a consequence of combustion processes such as cigarette smoke, cookstove smoke, and wildfire smoke.
Impact of Poor Indoor Air Quality on Health
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can have significant impacts on human health, especially in Malaysia where the air quality is often poor due to various factors. The following are some of the most common health problems associated with poor IAQ in Malaysia:
- Irritation in the throat, nose, and eyes.
- Weariness, as well as headaches and vertigo.
- Heart disease, cancer, and respiratory conditions.
- Episodes of Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia caused by exposure to the Legionella bacteria.
- Some asthmatics might experience asthma attacks following exposure to numerous indoor air pollutants.
- Certain groups of people may be more vulnerable to sick building syndrome.
Addressing the sources of indoor air pollution that contribute to poor IAQ, improving ventilation, and implementing appropriate maintenance, and cleaning practices can help reduce the health risks associated with poor IAQ.
Solutions for Monitoring Indoor Air Quality Using IoT
In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged as a powerful tool for monitoring indoor air quality (IAQ) in homes, offices, and other indoor environments. IoT solutions use sensors and other connected devices to collect data on various parameters such as temperature, humidity, air pollutants, and ventilation.
This data can be analysed in real-time to identify potential problems with IAQ and take appropriate action to improve air quality. Some of the most common IoT solutions for monitoring IAQ include:
- Smart air quality monitors: These devices use sensors to measure various parameters such as particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The data is transmitted to a cloud-based platform for analysis and can be viewed on a mobile app or web interface.
- Smart thermostats: These devices can adjust the temperature and humidity levels in a room or building based on pre-set parameters. They can also be used to monitor IAQ and adjust ventilation accordingly.
- HVAC systems: HVAC systems equipped with IoT sensors can monitor IAQ and adjust ventilation, heating, and cooling based on real-time data.
- Smart air purifiers: These devices use sensors to detect pollutants in the air and adjust their filtration levels accordingly.
At Inchz IoT, we offer cutting-edge solutions for monitoring IAQ using the power of IoT technology. Our Doggo platform for environment monitors use state-of-the-art sensors to detect a range of pollutants, including particulate matter, VOCs, and carbon dioxide. The data is transmitted to a cloud-based platform for real-time analysis, providing you with instant insights into the quality of the air you breathe.
Don’t compromise on your IAQ choose Inchz IoT for reliable, effective, and cutting-edge IoT solutions that will ensure your indoor environment is healthy and safe. Contact us today to learn more about our indoor air quality assessment solutions and how we can help you breathe easier!