Indoor Air Quality
We spend 85% of our time (or more for certain susceptible populations such as young children and the elderly) in closed environments in which we may be exposed to multiple pollutants.
These pollutants are emitted by the building itself, its equipment or its decoration (wall coverings, flooring, furniture, etc.). They also come from the immediate outdoor environment and the activities of the occupants. See the Agency’s work on this issue.
Air, whether outdoors or in confined environments, is likely to be polluted by chemicals, bio-contaminants or particles and fibres that can have an adverse effect on health. These pollutants can be of natural origin (pollens, volcanic emissions, etc.), or be linked to human activity (particles from industrial activities, agriculture or road transport, volatile organic compounds emitted by building materials, etc.). For indoor air, the nature of the pollutants depends mainly on the characteristics of the building, as well as the inhabitants’ activities and behaviour (smoking, DIY, painting, etc.). For outdoor air, pollutant-emitting activities such as industry, transportation, heating buildings and agriculture also influence the chemical make-up of emissions. Air quality has been a subject of concern for many years and has now become a major public health issue. ANSES works on both indoor and outdoor air to assess the risks related to pollutants found in these environments.
To support the updating of regulations on the ventilation of buildings, the Agency has issued a status report on concentration levels for CO2 in indoor air and its health effects, both intrinsic to CO2 and those induced by closed spaces, for which CO2 is an effective indicator.
In contrast to outdoor air pollution, which has received significant media attention, interior air pollution remained relatively unknown until the early 2000s. And yet in temperate climates we spend on average 85% of our time in indoor environments – houses, workplaces, public buildings and transportation vehicles – with the majority of this time spent in the home. In all these places we may be exposed to numerous pollutants, the nature of which depends on a number of factors, including the characteristics of the construction, the activities taking place there and the behaviour of individuals (smoking, DIY, painting, etc.). Indoor air quality has been a subject of concern for many years and has now become a major public health issue.
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