After exposure to all the chemicals that have become part of our daily existence, many people fall victim to something called “multiple chemical sensitivity,” which means that just about everything around them makes them sick-from the kerosene-based ink used in newspapers, to the mold spores on the pages of books, to the outside air laden with automobile exhausts, to the fragrance designed to mask the soapy odor of dishwashing detergent.
Exposure to mold and other indoor pollutants does not create a problem for the inhabitants of a house in a day or a month but in two, three, or five years. The gradual introduction of time-weighted exposure to indoor pollutants causes problems.
As buildings became tighter and less able to breathe, we also began spending more time indoors-working longer hours, spending more time with our families, needing security in a less secure world. Research indicates that people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many, the risks to health may be greater because of exposure to air pollution indoors.
What is worse is that the people who might be affected most by indoor pollution often cannot escape their environment. These include the young and the elderly and, especially, the chronically ill suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular disease.