The Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre (AIVC) in Europe recently evaluated existing guidelines, hazard assessments, cumulative risk, and health impact for indoor air contaminants. AIVC then proposed a hierarchy of high-priority indoor air pollutants for residential ventilation standards. Experts call these high-priority contaminants: contaminants of concern (COCs). COCs are sometimes called pollutants of concern (POCs)
Identifying Contaminants of Concern
For chronic exposure, AIVC identified the following high-priority contaminants, ranked by population impact.
- mold and moisture,
For acute exposure, experts propose the following contaminants without ranking them because of the lack of information in the literature: acrolein, chloroform, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, NO2, PM2.5. Also, even if humidity itself isn’t a contaminant, experts considers humidity as a health concern because of the risk of mold and dust mites.
|High-priority pollutants: chronic exposure, ranked by health impact||High-priority pollutants for acute exposure|
|1. Particulate matter
2. Mold and moisture
Quantifying the Harm Caused by Contaminants
IAQ experts use two common methods for quantifying the effects of COCs.
- Animal experiments that provide the following values.
- Exposure limit values (ELVs)
- Toxicity reference values (TRVs)
- Indoor air guideline values (IAGVs)
- These three values can’t effectively combine into an integrated health assessment
- Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) that provide a versatile assessment of contaminant effect on humans. IAQ experts can add DALYs for individual contaminants to characterize the health effects of a particular air mass, depending on the concentration of various contaminants it contains.