Exploring the Connection Between IAQ and Mental Well-Being

We spend an immense amount of time (almost 90%) in our built environment, whether that be our homes, workplaces or schools. We know that a healthy indoor environment is an important factor in maintaining physical health, but could it have an impact on our mental well-being as well? 

Environmental illnesses can stem from a variety of agitators, including mold, chemical toxins, radon, pests, and others. While we know that exposure to things like high radon levels has a direct negative effect on lung health, we often do not consider how indoor air quality can impact our brain and mental health. According to a 2022 literature review, “exposure to polluted air changes the brain”, and those exposed to high levels of air pollution have shown evidence of increased symptoms associated with negative mental health outcomes. 

For example, particulate matter (PM), which is generated by everyday activities like cooking and burning candles or incense, “has showed associations with depression, anxiety, psychosis”, with “the most apparent association between long-term exposure of PM and depression.” Additionally, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted by things like cleaning supplies, building materials, and even furniture in our homes. Exposure can lead to not only physical health effects, but is also “found to be associated with neurological dysfunction, with depression being one of the classic symptoms.”Beyond this, poorly ventilated areas can trap carbon dioxide and impair cognitive function, as well as cause other physical symptoms. 

On the contrary, prioritizing good air quality can boost mood and focus, as well as promote better sleep and reduce the effects of stress hormones. It is important to note that most environmental illnesses can be attributed to factors that are preventable, and that there are steps you can take to ensure you are living and working in healthy spaces, not only for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. 

What can you do to facilitate a healthier indoor environment?

  • Regular maintenance on HVAC systems (ask about E3’s Home Shield Maintenance Plan!)
  • Implement exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Change filters regularly, with MERV13 or better
  • Reduce mold (a particularly harmful VOC) by using a dehumidifier
  • Establish regular cleaning routines while avoiding harsh products 

Even better news: You may be able to use your health savings account (HSA) on home improvements! According to HSA store, “home improvements, if primarily for a medical purpose, may be eligible for reimbursement with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) with a health savings account (HSA).”





Take control of your indoor environment and prioritize your well-being today. Your health and happiness deserve the best air quality possible. Contact our team for more info today.