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Indoor Air Quality

Environmental and Ecotoxicology

  1. Rikke B. Jørgensen MSc, PhD Associate Professor1,
  2. Sten O. Hanssen MSc, PhD Professor2,
  3. Jan V. Bakke MD, PhD Chief Physician, Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, and Associate Professor2,
  4. Ellen K. Jensen MSc, PhD3

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat090

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Jørgensen, R. B., Hanssen, S. O., Bakke, J. V. and Jensen, E. K. 2009. Indoor Air Quality. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Trondheim, Norway

  2. 2

    Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Trondheim, Norway

  3. 3

    Staff Engineer, StatoilHydro ASA, HSE Technology, Stavanger, Norway

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


Indoor air quality depends on a number of factors, including the outdoor air quality, ventilation, the amount of fresh air provided indoors, and the amount of air pollution derived from numerous indoor sources. Indoor environments are usually characterized by exposure to a complex mixture of different agents at very low exposures, mostly far below any known threshold level of biological effect. However, since people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, these low concentrations may have an impact on health and wellbeing. Those with asthma, allergies and other hypersensitivities are particularly vulnerable to inferior indoor environments. Dampness in buildings and combustion processes are probably the major pollution sources. The most important effects on public health are probably allergic respiratory sensitization, aggravation of allergic diseases, increased susceptability to respiratory infection and worsening of chronic obstructive lung diseases. The pollutants in the indoor air are gases and particles. The most typical inorganic gases are CO, NO2, CO2 and O3. Important organic gases are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including formaldehyde, phthalates and flame retardants. Combustion processes (tobacco smoke, heating, cooking, frying, grilling) are the main indoor sources of smaller nonbiological particles. Biological particles originate typically from pet allergens, house dust mites, pollen and micro-organisms.


  • asthma;
  • allergy;
  • building dampness;
  • combustion processes;
  • gases;
  • particles;
  • phthalates;
  • ventilation