Poor Indoor Air Quality & its Effects

Poor Indoor Air Quality & its Effects

The EPA estimates we spend approximately 90% of our time indoors working from home, resting, retreating from summer heat, and avoiding winter weather, making us susceptible to an immeasurable amount of poor indoor air quality. Poor Indoor Air Quality is caused by a multitude of factors such as pet dander, cigarette smoke, hygiene products, poor ventilation, everyday household cleaning supplies, mold and mildew. With this in mind, let's explore Poor Indoor Air Quality & its Effects on Melanated Communities.
Many of our basic design elements such as paint, furniture, carpet (and other flooring) as well as finishes also contain harmful chemicals that impact our health in such an unwholesome way. I believe that if our homes were truly our sanctuary, we would never have to leave, thus the amount of poor indoor air quality (piaq) that we are exposed to on a daily basis would be less than average, if any. Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary, your sacred solace. How can we feel at home in a space that threatens the welfare of our entire being? 

My first known experience with poor indoor air quality dates back to
the living conditions that I bore witness to while growing up in public housing for five years amongst my mother and seven other siblings. While living in public housing, I remember my mother feeling congested, my sibling’s allergies and eczema constantly flaring up, and me experiencing a multitude of headaches due to roach feces, poor ventilation, and mold and mildew that we were exposed to. While this is an unfortunate reality for many Melanated individuals and families living in public housing, low-income communities, and residential spaces that are not well maintained prior to leasing, it is evident that dis-ease within our spirit, mind, and body is influenced by many components, including elements that exist within our immediate environment. 

Melanin is a chemical substance that binds to a variety of other chemicals and drugs. Naturally, Melanin will attach itself to toxins (becoming one molecule) within the body in order to transport it out of the body or neutralize it, however, if Melanin is not functioning properly within the body due to lack of sunlight, a polluted environment, junk food, visual pollution (artificial light, cellphones, and tv), and anything else that has the potential to alter our DNA, this will cause the combined Melanin and harmful substance to release into the bloodstream and interact with our hormones. Once the combined Melanin and harmful chemical accumulates within the body, this can create a toxic load; an overdose, compromising one's health.

There are many different kinds of hormones that exist within the body, and each kind presents a different message that triggers different responses. Melanin hormones are the primary controller of the Melanated human life. Hormones controlled by the Endocrine System control the function of many organs and glands including the pineal, pituitary, adrenals, pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid, the testicles & reproductive system. Endocrine Disruptors are chemicals that mimic natural emotions & disrupt the body’s Endocrine System (and all of its organs) by interfering with hormones and producing adverse health effects in both humans and animals. Negative health effects of Endocrine Disruptors include developmental, neurological, immunity issues, and infertility. Common Endocrine Disruptors include phthalates used in PVC plastic, dioxins and pesticides.

Would you believe me if I told you infertility is brought upon by more than just diet, health issues, and feminine hygiene products, but poor indoor air quality, too? The Endocrine System’s ability to produce, store, and release hormones is valuable for the production of Melanin. Melanated beings who spend an extensive amount of time indoors are vulnerable to pollution; visual pollution, noise pollution, environmental pollution, thus depriving the Pineal Gland of sunlight, creating an under-stimulated Pineal Gland. As it pertains to fertility, an under-stimulated Pineal Gland can cause a decrease in sperm production and female fertility function. While most of the world was forced to spend a vast amount of time indoors over the course of these last few years, is it safe to suppose that poor indoor air quality has resulted in the increase of infertility rates?

The amount of Melanin content found within the nerves is the highest in Melanated individuals. The Pineal Gland stimulates the Nervous System and the brain, as it is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and a myriad of nerves throughout the body. Neurotoxins are toxic substances that target the nervous system and disrupt the signaling that allows nervous tissue to function effectively. Exposure to Neurotoxins can affect the developmental stages of anyone who encounters neurotoxins, though elders & youth; prenatal, postnatal, and early childhood stages are more at risk of brain damage. While the placenta can work to protect mama & baby in utero, the placenta cannot prevent an array of toxins from passing from mother to fetus, in consequence traces of neurotoxins can be transferred through breast milk. This just goes to show that womb wellness is broader than mainstream matters.

The most disturbing concern amongst all of the aforementioned elements is the fact that no one is mentioning this aspect of health and wellness as it pertains to Afro-Indigenous communities and the role they play within the building industry. We cannot see or taste toxins, though most of us have reactions to chemical sensitivities every day. Sick Building Syndrome (sbs) is directly linked to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (mcs). Unlike MCS, Sick Building Syndrome is present in individuals when they are in a building and disappear once they leave the building. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is experienced through allergies (consistent sneezing), joint pain, eczema and rashes, headaches, confusion and memory loss. MCS is triggered by the food we eat, water we drink, personal hygiene products. detergents, perfumes (colognes, plug-ins, and other scented items) household cleaning products, and ultimately, the air we breathe. Many of these symptoms are difficult to medically diagnose, hence why reported statistics are low. The truth is the majority of us (not just Melanated people) have been triggered by Poor Indoor Air Quality & have little to no awareness about it.

So, where do we go from here? 

Until you are able to build the greenest building of your dreams, I’d say begin within. Your home is a direct reflection of you. Reduce your toxic load consuming a balanced diet, adding more natural elements to your immediate environment that will help purify the air you breathe, such as a home air ionizer or an air purifier, choosing chemical-free household & personal hygiene products, shopping locally (typically “small”), and sustainably. And ultimately, advocating for yourself & your family while occupying spaces. The goal is to create a sacred solace that caters to your spirit, mind, and body.

Your breath is your spirit.

Sustain that.

** Please know: the preceding lists of findings are not definitive lists. I recommend furthering your research.

Photo by ali syaaban on Unsplash
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