New research suggests indoor air pollution is potentially responsible for the loss of over 200,000 healthy life years in the UK annually, leading to calls for improved ventilation.

The pan-European study, carried out by the Finnish National Institute for Health & Welfare (THL), has highlighted the impact of indoor allergens on disease and life expectancy – revealing a link between indoor exposure to pollutants and cardiovascular disease, as well as other health hazards.

A change in the way homes are ventilated could reduce the overall burden of disease caused by indoor air pollution by approximately 38% each year, the research says.

It also finds that exposure to indoor pollutants is linked to reduced life expectancy and burden of disease. 57% of the total burden relates to cardiovascular diseases, 23% to lung cancer, 12% to asthma and the remaining 8% is in association with other respiratory conditions.

This new research builds on findings by a YouGov consumer survey conducted on behalf of BEAMA and reported in HVP, which found that 58% of respondents suffered from mould or condensation in their homes, with 19% of these residents already having suffered from a respiratory or dermatological condition.

A home study by Prism & Waverton Analytics found that 91% of homes tested for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the air were above the recommended level. When the total VOC level increases into the moderate, elevated or severe levels, health problems become more likely.

As the government continues to drive energy efficiency in homes, with insulation and double glazing making homes ever more airtight, ventilation will be increasingly required to avoid adverse effects on health caused by poor indoor air quality, ventilation system manufacturer Vent-Axia says.

Lee Nurse, marketing director at Vent-Axia, said: “With many people spending the majority of their time indoors, improvements in indoor air quality must be seen as a priority.

“Continuous ventilation is a simple solution to air quality problems.”