What is IAQ – Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Icon of Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide

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Sources of Carbon dioxide

  • Human breathing
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Combustion sources


Potential Health Effects
No significant health impact in general but causes sleepiness, and even headaches, dizziness and nausea at high level


Measures to Improve IAQ
Provide sufficient fresh air supply and ventilation

Icon of Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide

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Sources of Carbon monoxide

  • Combustion sources like cooking stove
  • Vehicle/engine exhaust
  • Tobacco smoking


Potential Health Effects
Causes headaches, nausea, fatigue, rapid breathing, chest pain, decreased alertness/confusion/ impaired judgement and is even fatal at high level


Measures to Improve IAQ
Avoid combustion in indoor environment or provide separate exhaust system, maintain sufficient ventilation, not to idle vehicle inside car park

Icon of Respirable suspended particulates

Respirable suspended
particulates

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Sources of Respirable suspended particulates

  • Combustion sources like cooking stove,
  • Equipment like photocopiers and printers
  • Tobacco smoking,
  • From outdoors


Potential Health Effects
Causes irritation to eyes, nose, skin and, respiratory system, and sometimes allergic reactions


Measures to Improve IAQ
Clean and vacuum frequently, maintain ventilation system properly, use proper air purifier, not to smoke indoor

Icon of Nitrogen dioxide

Nitrogen dioxide

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Sources of Nitrogen dioxide

  • Combustion sources like cooking stove
  • Vehicle/engine exhaust
  • Smoking
  • From outdoors


Potential Health Effects
Causes irritation to eyes and respiratory system


Measures to Improve IAQ
Avoid combustion in indoor environment or provide separate exhaust system, maintain sufficient ventilation, not to idle vehicle inside car park, review fresh air intake points

Icon of Ozone

Ozone

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Sources of Ozone

  • Equipment like photocopiers, laser printers and fax machines
  • Air purifiers with high voltage discharge components


Potential Health Effects
Causes irritation to eyes and respiratory system, and chronic respiratory disease


Measures to Improve IAQ
Isolate ozone emitting equipment and provide exhaust gas system

Icon of Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde

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Sources of Formaldehyde

  • Pressed-wood furniture and products
  • Adhesives
  • Paints
  • Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI)
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Incense burning


Potential Health Effects
Causes irritation to eyes and respiratory system, and even lung damage at high level; human carcinogen


Measures to Improve IAQ
Avoid using pressed-wood products, use low emission furniture and renovation materials, maintain sufficient ventilation

Icon of Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile Organic
Compounds

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Sources of Volatile Organic Compounds

  • New furniture and furnishings.
  • Renovation materials like paints and solvents,
  • Consumer and aerosol products like cleaning agents, disinfectants, pesticides, cosmetics and fragrance products
  • Dry-cleaned clothes
  • Smoking


Potential Health Effects
Causes irritation to eyes, nose and throat, and even headaches, dizziness, visual disorder, and many other impairments; some VOCs are human or animal carcinogens.


Measures to Improve IAQ
Use no/low emission renovation materials and furniture, reduce use of VOC-containing consumer products and aerosol products, maintain proper ventilation

Icon of Radon

Radon

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Sources of Radon

  • Concrete building materials containing granite


Potential Health Effects
Causes lung cancer


Measures to Improve IAQ
Use sealant or wallpaper to cover up concrete materials, maintain sufficient ventilation

Icon of Biological contaminants

Biological contaminants

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Sources of Biological contaminants

• Dirty air conditioner/ventilation system filter and ducting;
• Growth accelerated by inadequate ventilation, and damp and dusty environment


Potential Health Effects
Causes sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, fever, digestive problems; may trigger allergic or asthmatic reactions.


Measures to Improve IAQ
Keep premises clean and dry, maintain good hygiene and good ventilation, clean ventilation system regularly

Icon of Mould

Mould

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Sources of Mould

  • Grows rapidly on organic matter under wet and warm condition


Potential Health Effects
Causes allergic reactions to mould-sensitised individuals, e.g. headaches, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rashes


Measures to Improve IAQ
Keep premises clean and dry, maintain relative humidity lower than 70%, fix water leakage/seepage problem, clean up mould spots promptly

Icon of Environmental tobacco smoke

Environmental
tobacco smoke

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Sources of Environmental tobacco smoke

• Smoking


Potential Health Effects
Causes respiratory irritation, adverse effects on cardiovascular system and lung cancer


Measures to Improve IAQ
Quit smoking





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