Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: May 04, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412973816 | Print ISBN: 9781412996822 | Online ISBN: 9781412973816| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Indoor Air Quality
Though often taken for granted, indoor air quality is an important concern. Most people spend more time indoors than out, consequently the health risks posed by pollutants trapped within buildings can be significantly greater than those associated with outdoor air pollution. The main causes of poor indoor air quality fall into two broad categories: (1) emissions from building materials and furnishings, dirt and molds, chemical cleaning supplies, heating and air conditioning system fuels and filters, and site characteristics; and (2) poor ventilation that concentrates interior pollutants by preventing exchange with the outside air. Emissions from building materials and furnishings emerged as a problem with the increased use of processed wood products, foams and plastics. Virtually every modern building contains some of these products, for example, particleboard, plywood, fiberboard, and paneling. The primary pollutant associated with this group is formaldehyde, a component of many adhesives. Problems with formaldehyde rose to prominence ...