Breathe Easy Maintaining Good Air Quality

It’s the end of another long day at work. You come home, lock the door, flop down on the couch and take a deep breath. Time to rest easy. But consider that deep breath. How clean is the air in your co-op or condo? Do you really want to know?

In recent years, co-op and condo residents and boards have been spending more money than ever surveying air quality and cleaning up aging air filtration systems. With asthma and other respiratory problems on the rise, building owners and occupants are taking a second look at air quality–and doing something about what they find.

Indoor Air Hazards

Newspapers and newscasts are filled each day with stories of outdoor air pollution–the hazy clouds hanging over Los Angeles, the ominous odors permeating America’s industrial areas. Research shows that the stuff outside can often be child’s play compared to what’s behind our own curtains.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Indoor Air Quality studies of human exposure to air pollutants "indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels." Startling numbers, given the EPA’s estimate that most people spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors.


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  • Thank you for this excellent article!
  • I'm a four-time cancer survivor, twice since moving to this condo. Formaldehyde and VOCs put me at risk. For some reason I cannot fathom, painting of hallways and retiling are done during the dead of winter when ventilation is at a minimum. Work begins this week, likely lasting for the next 4 to 6 weeks. I can't afford to move so use expensive air purifiers, which help. However, the halls reek of chemicals and my face is always puffy. Other than staying away as much as possible, i haven't known what else I can do.. till this article. Thank you!! You've given me some much needed options.