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It is recognized that good indoor air quality is essential to employees' health and productivity. The purpose of this program is to establish a means for addressing employees' concerns regarding indoor air quality, and to promote good indoor air quality in University buildings.

Investigations of indoor air quality (IAQ) often fail to identify any harmful levels of specific toxic substances. Often employee complaints result from items such as odors, low-level contaminants, poor air circulation, thermal gradients, humidity, job pressures, lighting, work-station design, or noise. In approximately 500 indoor air quality investigations, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that the primary sources of indoor air quality pollution problems are:

  • Inadequate ventilation 52%
  • Contamination from inside building 16%
  • Contamination from outside building 10%
  • Microbial contamination 5%
  • Contamination from building fabric 4%
  • Unknown sources 13%

Complaints are often subjective and nonspecific in nature and are associated with the period of occupancy.  These symptoms often disappear when the employee leaves the workplace. They include headache, dizziness, nausea, lack of concentration, and eye, nose, and throat irritation.

Investigation of indoor air quality problems can be complicated due to highly charged emotions, the complexity of the buildings themselves, and the fact that standard evaluation techniques may be inconclusive.

Acceptable indoor air quality can be defined as air in which there are no known contaminants at harmful concentrations and with which a substantial majority (80% or more) of the people exposed do not express dissatisfaction.

Additional Information and Resources

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