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Indoor Air

Issue Summary
Other Federal Agencies
Organizations/Non-Government Programs
Databases and Tools

Issue SummaryIndoor Air

Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes, schools and other public/private buildings. Concerns about indoor air quality (IAQ) increased when energy conservation measures, instituted in office buildings during the 1970s, minimized the introduction of outside air and contributed to the buildup of indoor air contaminants. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. Studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally more than one hundred times higher, than outdoor pollutant levels. Children are even more vulnerable to pollutants because they breathe a greater volume of air relative to their body weight and they are not able to process toxins as well as adults.

Local governments play an important role in reducing indoor air pollution by educating communities about air quality issues and participating in air quality improvement programs or initiatives.

U.S. EPAIndoor Air

  • Indoor Air Quality. Main EPA page providing information and resources on asthma, mold, radon and more.
  • Indoor Air Quality in Homes/Residences. Introduction of the Energy Star Indoor Air Package and other indoor air quality projects for homes.
  • Asthma. Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for millions of Americans. Although there is no cure for asthma yet, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers.
  • Mold. EPA's mold page contains links to publications, resources and an online mold course for environmental/public health professionals.
  • Radon. EPA's main radon page. Links to various radon resources.
  • IAQ in Large Buildings. This site is a gateway to many different EPA programs to improve the environmental impacts of building and development. These include Energy Star, Water Efficiency, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, and more.

Other Federal Agencies/Programs

  • OSHA Indoor Air Quality. OSHA IAQ main page. Contains links to applicable standards, hazard recognition resources, and more.


Organizations/Non-Government Programs

  • American Lung Association. Links to IAQ resources on the ALA website.
  • Indoor Air Quality Association. A nonprofit, multi-disciplined organization, dedicated to promoting the exchange of indoor environmental information, through education and research, for the safety and well being of the general public.


Databases and Tools

IAQ Tools for Schools Program. EPA developed the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools (TfS) Program to reduce exposures to indoor environmental contaminants in schools through the voluntary adoption of sound indoor air quality management practices.