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.
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Health Hazards in Indoor Air In Proceedings of 2010 31st AIVC Conference, Low Energy and Sustainable Ventilation Technologies for Green Buildings. Seoul, South Korea, 2010.
Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde exposure mitigation in US residences: In-home measurements of ventilation control and source control., 2014.
Impacts of Contaminant Storage on Indoor Air Quality: Model Development.” Atmospheric Environment 72 (2013): 41-49. “
Maximizing Information from Residential Measurements of Volatile Organic Compounds.” In Healthy Buildings 2012 – 10th International Conference. Brisbane, Australia, 2013. “