Skip links

Health in housing: a key issue

Figures about health in housing

The environmental issue is certainly an essential point not to be neglected when building a home, but there is another major issue: the health of its occupants.

Indeed, we breathe between 15 and 20 kg of air per day and we spend nearly 90% of our time inside buildings.

According to the World Health Organization, indoor air is up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air.

But where does this indoor pollution come from? Paintings, varnishes, glues, wallpapers, floor coverings or furniture, which release polluting chemical components throughout their life cycle.

In addition, there are mites, moulds and tobacco smoke.

This results in headaches, respiratory problems, allergies or, in the most extreme cases, the risk of developing cancer.

healthy housing - habitat sain

Main pollutants: source and health consequences health-main-pollutants

  • Carbon monoxide

Sources: poorly maintained combustion heaters, tobacco smoke…

Risks: cancer

Sources: combustion, building or decorative materials (coatings), furniture (flame retardants), wood treatment products…

These are pesticides, phthalates, PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)…

Risks: damage to the nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems

Sources: building or decorative materials, furniture, glues, paints, treated wood…

There are more than hundreds of them: formaldehyde, glycol ethers, hydrocarbons…

Risks: impairing the nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems

  • CO2

Sources: Human respiration

Risks: insufficient oxygen supply in the blood, drowsiness

Sources: gas naturally present in areas with granitic or volcanic subsoil

Risks: Lung cancer

  • Mould

Sources: wet and poorly ventilated rooms, poorly insulated walls

Risks: cough, wheezing, headache, allergies, toxicity

  • Mites

Sources: dust, bed linen, sofas, armchairs, curtains, carpets…

Risks: allergies, asthmatic symptoms

Health at the core of ecological and passive house building

One of the criteria for validating a passive house is the principle of ventilation, in particular dual-flow ventilation with heat recovery. It is this principle that allows air to circulate but above all to be depolluted. Here again, this criterion is not at the core of current construction concerns, but its importance is growing and passive construction puts it in the very heart of its logic.