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Indoor Air Quality

Air is one of the basic requirements for  human beings. In highly-developed industrial countries, people stay indoors for more than 90% of their time on average; therefore a great importance is attached to indoor air quality.
 
In addition to temperature, relative humidity the rate of ventillation and air pollutants from different sources can affect indoor air quality.
 
Sometimes these pollutants have been produced indoors intentionally (e.g. scents) or unintentionally, for example pollutions from building products or articles of interior decoration (e.g. VOC emissions). Certain cases of damages, such as moisture damage, can become a source of emissions produced by moulds. Emitted compounds can be of natural origin, such as radon, or of anthropogenic origin, such as wood preservatives. The extent of their occurrence depends on the power and dimension of existing sources in relation to the room size, on the indoor activities (e.g. tobacco smoke) as well as on ventilation and cleaning behaviour of the users. Due to the present trend to low-energy buildings that have a very tight building envelope and potentially show aninsufficient air interchange rate, the quality of the interior air will gain further importance in future.
 
Indoor contaminants can cause toxic effects (e.g. allergic, immune-toxic, irritant or infectious effects), dependent on their nature, their concentration, the duration of exposition, and the vulnerability of the residents. Occationally, their presence can be noticed olfactory. Environmentally associated health effects such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) are often reported by the residents to be associated with the interior.
 
For a number of indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde e.g., toxicologically based guideline values have been developed on a national or European level (e.g. WHO Air Quality Guidelines). However, only in singular cases limit values for indoor pollutants have so far been established by law.