Indoor air quality

Refers to the constituents of the air inside a building or enclosed space, which affects the health of the users. This is of increasing concern as humans are spending greater amounts of time indoors where harmful gases and particles can be produced and then accumulate. Pollutants are released into the air from a variety of source activities (e.g. building materials, work/home tasks and activities, heating, painting, cleaning) (US Environmental Protection Agency 2010). Locations of highest concern are those involving prolonged, continued exposure, such as home, school, and workplace (US Environmental Protection Agency 2010). Measuring and monitoring types of particles and gases of concern such as moulds and allergens, radon, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, asbestos fibres, NOx, carbon dioxide, and ozone—can determine indoor air quality. Computer modelling of ventilation and other airflow in buildings can predict air quality levels. Outdoor air may penetrate indoors via the ventilation systems of buildings, and thus must also be taken into consideration (Hang et al. 2009). In developing countries, carbon monoxide is a pollutant of high concern, affecting indoor air quality and occupant health in the home. This is due to the burning of any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal for cooking and heating (Duflo et al. 2008). Proper ventilation, filtration, and source control are the most used methods for diluting and improving indoor air quality and comfort, with control of high temperature and humidity also important (US Environmental Protection Agency 2010).

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