Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term used to characterize the acceptability of the indoor air. Acceptability of indoor air is based on facts (results of investigation and/or testing) and the perception of the occupant.

What affects Indoor Air Quality?

  • Asbestos

  • Lead

  • Biological Contaminants

  • Inadequate Ventilation

  • Chemical Contaminants from Indoors and Outdoors

  • Radon

  • Temperature

  • Humidity

  • Lighting

  • Noise

  • Odors

Guidelines and regulations are established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These agencies have conducted numerous studies to evaluate the effects of constituents on individuals.

The below factors determine IAQ and can be broken down into three areas by issue source, exposure levels and health effects.

  1. Asbestos

  2. Biological Contaminants

  3. Chemical Contaminants from Indoors like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

  4. Chemical Contaminants from Outdoors

  5. Temperature

  6. Humidity

  7. Lead

  8. Inadequate Ventilation

  9. Radon

  10. Light

  11. Noise

  12. Odor

Sick Building Syndrome

When occupants experience health and comfort effects believed to be linked to the occupancy of a building it is known as Sick Building Syndrome.

Typically, no specific illnesses or causes can be determined and the occupants recover after leaving the building and symptoms resume upon their return.

This can be caused by any of the sources with exception of asbestos, lead and radon. Asbestos, lead and radon cause long term problems which occur years after exposure.


  • Investigate and test

  • Identify the source

  • Removal or correction of the problem

  • Education

  • Communication