Pollution can be 5 to 10 times worse in your home than outside. Here’s what to do about it

During the pandemic, many of us felt like we were trapped inside because, well, we were. But this actually isn’t all that unusual.

The typical person in the United States spends 90% of their time indoors during any given year. We’ve become an indoor species. About two-thirds of our life is spent at home, with the rest of the time divided between places such as work and school, and things such as getting groceries, doing errands, and going to the gym, the bank, and church. It also includes the time we spend getting to and from those places, which, for most people, also involves more time inside—cars, buses, subways, and airplanes.

So what was different this year was not how much time we spent indoors, but where that balance shifted. Instead of schools and office buildings, many people spent more time at home. A lot more.

All that time at home—just as COVID-19 was sharpening our focus to the importance of indoor air—means people are now, maybe for the first time ever, paying more attention to what life inside four walls means for their health.


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