An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Basic Information on Pollutants and Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
- Biological Pollutants
- Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- Formaldehyde/Pressed Wood Products
- Lead (Pb)
- Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
- Radon (Rn)
- Respirable Particles
- Secondhand Smoke/ Environmental Tobacco Smoke
- Stoves, Heaters, Fireplaces, and Chimneys
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Eye, nose, and throat irritation; respiratory infections and bronchitis; lung cancer.
Levels in Homes
Particle levels in homes without smoking or other strong particle sources are the same as, or lower than, outdoor levels.
Steps to Reduce Exposure to Respirable Particles
- Vent all furnaces to outdoors; keep doors to rest of house open when using
unvented space heaters.
- Choose properly sized woodstoves, certified to meet EPA emission
standards; make certain that doors on all woodstoves fit tightly.
- Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating
system (furnace, flues, and chimneys) annually. Repair any leaks
- Change filters on central heating and cooling systems and air cleaners
according to manufacturer's directions.
- Visit EPA's Burnwise site at www.epa.gov/burnwise
The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg addressed the increased environmental health risk faced by more than 2 billion people in the developing world who burn traditional biomass fuels indoors for cooking and heating. According to the World Health Organization, their increased exposure results in an estimated 1.6 million premature deaths each year, largely among women and children. The mission of the Partnership is to improve health, livelihood, and quality of life by reducing exposure to air pollution, primarily among women and children, from household energy use. Read more about Cookstoves.www.epa.gov/burnwise