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Indoor Air Quality Guidelines and Standards - A State of the Art Review

It is only fairly recently that scientific and public concerns have focused on the probable health risk that the presence of air pollutants can cause in residential or non-industrial buildings. Several reasons have contributed to the deterioration of indoor air quality (IAQ) including some aspects of trends in the construction sector, most important of which are the design of buildings with increased air tightness for the sake of energy conservation but also the use of innovative building materials based on complex synthetic chemical substances.

Residential Thermal Comfort, Weather- Tightness and Ventilation: Links With Health in a European Study (Lares)

The LARES Housing and Health survey conducted in representative samples of eightEuropean towns provides substantial data from 3,373 households about housingconditions and the health of 8,519 residents. We assessed the relation between residentialthermal comfort, weather-tightness, ventilation, mould or dampness and some commondiseases and symptoms. We observed that reporting bad health was significantlyassociated with temperature, weather-tightness and mould or dampness problems.Asthma was significantly linked with mould or dampness, temperature, and ventilationproblems.

THE INDOOR ENVIRONMENT IN HOMES AND HEALTH – WHAT WE HAVE LEARNT, IF ANY?

The epidemiological research on indoor environments in homes and health has been reviewed.Science has mainly been about health effects like asthma/allergies and exposures such as VOCs,mould and dampness. So far there are few conclusive findings. Dampness, pets, mites, dampness,ETS, a low ventilation rate, and some phthalates are risk factors for asthma and allergies. There is alarge need of studies of other health effects, and other exposures, especially regarding new frequentlyused chemicals.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY AND OCCUPANT HEALTH IN THE RESIDENTIAL BUILT ENVIRONMENT: FUTURE DIRECTIONS

In North America, there are ~140 million homes and 4 million public buildings. More than one fifth of theenergy use in Canada is used to condition air whether from the cold in much of Canada or providecooling and heating where summers are hot and humid and winters are cold. To reduce greenhousegases and improve housing affordability, this energy use needs to be reduced. In 1981, the Federal andProvincial governments understood that science was needed to inform building codes in relation tooccupant health.

The influence of indoor environment in office buildings on their occupants : expected-unexpected

For that study the measurement of parameters in the indoor environment were carried out with a simultaneous survey with questions dealing with elements of the indoor environment, health status and health problems. That study reveals a significant role for the psychological state and psychological factors of the respondents of natural ventilation when sujectively describing the indoor environment.

The performance and subjective responses of call-center operators with new and used supply air filters at two outdoor air supply rates

For that study an experiment was conducted during 2 months, in a call center : each week 26 operators returned questionnaires recording their environmental perceptions and sick building syndrome symptoms. In parallel, the recording of their average talk-time was monitored every 30 minutes.The results of that study confirm that increasing outdoor air supply rates and replacing used filters with new ones has a positive effect on health, comfort and productivity of workers.

New indoor environment chambers and field experiment offices for research on human comfort, health and productivity at moderate energy expenditure

The international center for indoor environment and energy, at the Technical University of Denmark has at its disposal 3 old and 9 new spaces for studying indoor environments and their incidence on human comfort, health, productivity at moderate energy demands. This paper describes those climate chambers, new laboratory and offices used for field experiments.

The influence of personality, measured by the Karolinska Scales of Personality (KSP), on symptoms among subjects in suspected sick buildings.

That research is based on the assumption that there are differences among normal subjects as to their vulnerability to stress-related symptoms to health/illnessThe study aims at increasing the understanding of SBS complaints in relation to personality factors.A relationship between personality characteristics and health-related behaviors, and between personality characteristics and perceived health is demonstrated.

Respiratory effects of experimental exposure to office dust

For that study, 24 healthy non-sensitive persons were tested to analyse the respiratory effects caused by exposures to office dust. The results of the study suggest that most of the tradiitional risk factors can be rejected as single responsible risk factor.

Effect of ventilation on health and other human responses in office environment

As ventilation is a significant consumer of energy the rates of ventilation have often been minimized, particularly after the energy crisis in the early 70s, in order to reduce equipment and energy costs. This has caused in many countries indoor air quality problems. It has been shown that ventilation rates have adverse effects on communicable respiratory illnesses; on sick building syndrome symptoms; on productivity and perceived air quality. Often the prevalence of SBS symptoms is higher in air-conditioned buildings than in naturally ventilated buildings.

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