Indoor Air Monitoring

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term which refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants

WHO/ OSHA set limits Indoor Air Contaminants

  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Radon
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s).
  • Miscellaneous Inorganic Gases
  • Asbestos
  • Microorganisms and Other Biological Contaminants (Microbial)

Common Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

  • Building site or locations
  • Building Design
  • Renovation Activities
  • Local Exhaust Ventilation
  • Building Materials
  • Building Furnishings
  • Building Maintenance
  • Occupant Activities

Importance of Indoor Air Quality

The quality of air inside homes, offices, schools, day care centers, public buildings, health care facilities or other private and public buildings where people spend a large part of their life is an essential determinant of healthy life and people’s well-being. Hazardous substances emitted from buildings, construction materials and indoor equipment or due to human activities indoors, such as combustion of fuels for cooking or heating, lead to a broad range of health problems and may even be fatal.

Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

A wide range of interventions are available to reduce indoor air pollution and associated health effects. Interventions can be classified according to the level at which they are effective: a) interventions on the source of pollution, b) interventions to the living environment, and c) interventions to user behavior.

Interventions on the source of pollution

Alternative fuels

The largest reductions in indoor air pollution can be achieved by switching from solid fuels (biomass, coal) to cleaner and more efficient fuels and energy technologies such as:

  • liquid petroleum gas (LPG)
  • biogas
  • producer gas
  • electricity
  • solar power

Interventions to the living environment

Improved ventilation of the cooking and living area can contribute significantly to reducing exposure to smoke. There are a number of ways to achieve better ventilation of the living environment including:

  • chimneys
  • smoke hoods (with flues)
  • eaves spaces
  • enlarged and repositioned windows (cooking window)

Interventions to user behaviour

Changes in user behaviour can also play a role in reducing pollution and exposure levels. For example, drying fuel wood before use improves combustion and decreases smoke production. Keeping young children away from smoke reduces exposure of this most vulnerable age group to health-damaging pollutants.

Such changes in user behaviour are unlikely to bring about reductions as large as those expected from a fuel switch or the installation of a hood or chimney. However, they should be seen as important supporting measures for other interventions.