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Indoor Air Quality

There are a lot of considerations in choosing a sports floor, but one factor that should not be overlooked is indoor air quality. Indoor sports facilities are places for athletic competition, but they are also places that promote health through physical activity. For that reason, creating a healthy indoor environment for players and facility users should be a key part of any sports flooring decision.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is the relative measure of harmful pollutants that can be found in the air of an indoor environment. These pollutants can include anything from secondhand smoke to mold spores. IAQ has two basic contributing factors: the volume of pollutants added by environmental factors and the degree of ventilation available.  Flooring can affect IAQ through the type and amount of VOCs emitted into the air.

Why Does Indoor Air Quality Matter?

Approximately 60 million people in the United States suffer from asthma or allergies, making it more prevalent than diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cancer combined1. Asthma alone is responsible for 10.5 million school absences per year2 and allergy cases now affect one in five Americans1. Some causes of this epidemic cannot be controlled, like genetics and outdoor conditions, but IAQ is one factor that can. It can have a dramatic impact, too. Since we spend around 93% of our time indoors, good IAQ is the most effective environmental remedy for asthma and allergy sufferers. On the other hand, poor IAQ not only exacerbates asthma and allergies, it can also cause headaches and dizziness among facility users3.

Important Statistics

  • 15,000 schools have air that is unfit to breathe4.
  • Approximately 14 million school days are missed each year due to asthma5.
  • More than 40% of surveyed school nurses report that children and staff are adversely impacted by avoidable indoor pollutants6.

Identifying Floors for Indoor Air Quality

asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification FloorScore® Certification Logo There are two of key identifiers of flooring that is healthier for indoor air quality, both of which are scientifically tested: FloorScore® certification and asthma & allergy friendly™ certification. FloorScore® certification represents compliance with the California Section 01350 standard for VOC emissions, which is currently the most stringent air quality regulation in the US. The FloorScore® certification is issued by SCS Global Services after extensive testing and continual audits of manufacturing. The asthma & allergy friendly™ certification is issued by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, signifying products that are healthier for asthma and allergy sufferers. Among the standards for certification are exceptionally low VOC emissions and low allergen retention properties. Tarkett Sports’ EcoPure linoleum is FloorScore certified and Omnisports is both FloorScore certified and asthma & allergy friendly™ certified.

References

  1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=42.
  2. Environmental Protection Agency. www.epa.gov/asthma/school-based.html
  3. Resilient Floor Covering Institute. www.rfci.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=80&Itemid=79.
  4. Government Accountability Office: Health, Education, and Human Services Division, School Facilities: Condition of America’s Schools, GAO/HEHS-95-91 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1995): 2, retrieved December 2012 from http://www.gao.gov/archive/1995/he95061.pdf
  5. Asthma’s Impact of Children and Adolescents. Atlanta: National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 8 June 2005.
  6. Survey results released by the Association of School Nurses (NASN) and Healthy Schools Network, January 11, 2011.

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