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WAITING TO INHALE: Dr. Tang Lee spoke about indoor quality last thursday at the ACH.
Erik Froese/The Gauntlet

The air in here really sucks sometimes

U of C prof explores air quality illness

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"All I need is the air that I breathe," says the song.

However, the air you breathe might not be all it's cracked up to be.

University of Calgary Environmental Design professor Tang Lee lectures on "Indoor Air Quality" Thurs., Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Children's Hospital. He will focus on how airborne particles are related to asthma and how to improve the air quality in your home.

"About 260,000 Albertans are affected by asthma," said the Alberta Lung Association's Kelly White. That includes 13 per cent of school age children and six per cent of adults.

"Indoor air quality affects us all in some capacity," she added.

University students are certainly not immune.

"There's been an increase in the number of people considered to be chemically sensitive at the U of C," said Lee.

Unfortunately, given the current funding climate, he's found it difficult to address air quality problems on campus.

"There's support [for improving air quality] but there's no money," he said.

There are, however, low-cost ways to improve the quality of the air in your own home.

"With their busy lives, the last thing university students think about is cleaning," said White, who recommends everyone regularly dust, wash bed linens, and maintain a clean living environment. Lee will present further tips in his lecture.

Studies of indoor air quality and related health problems on Native reserves in Manitoba sparked Lee's interest in the issue. He developed the first Canadian graduate course on indoor air quality and also helps train professors in Canada and abroad. Currently, he is working with the Tsuu T'ina nation to improve air quality in reserve homes.

"I'm optimistic about providing healthier houses," said Lee.

While Thursday's lecture targets parents with asthmatic children as well as afflicted adults, a wider audience would benefit, too.

"Anyone who's interested in learning how to improve the air quality in their home should attend," said White.

The lecture is free of charge and takes place in the Solarium Room on the fourth floor of the hospital. For more information, contact the Alberta Lung Association at 283-1333, ext. 235.

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