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WHO Issues Indoor Air Quality Guidance

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued its first guidance on indoor air quality concerns. The new report titled WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality-Selected Pollutants evaluates exposure risks and other considerations for nine chemicals commonly found in indoor air. The nine chemicals addressed in the report are benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, naphthalene, nitrogen dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, radon, trichloroethylene, and tetrachloroethylene.

The new report results from the contribution of over 60 international scientists to a project coordinated by WHO Regional Office for Europe and presents for the first time evidence and guidance to protect health globally from the impact of indoor chemicals. The guidelines recommend targets for indoor air quality at which the health risks are significantly reduced and provide a scientific basis for legally enforceable standards in all regions of the world. The guidelines are targeted at public health professionals involved in preventing the health risks of environmental exposures, as well as at specialists and authorities involved in the design and use of buildings, indoor materials and products.

"Public health awareness of indoor air pollution has lagged behind that of outdoor air pollution. The new guidelines now provide clear reference criteria to reduce the health risks from indoor exposure to air pollutants in all regions of the world and at all levels of economic development," concludes Dr. Michal Krzyzanowski, leader of the WHO project to draw up the guidelines.

A news release and fact sheet about the recently issued indoor air quality guidance is available at http://www.euro.who.int/. The report also is available online for purchase.