Indoor Air Pollution: An Edifice Complex
AbstractThe collision of escalating technological sophistication and surging environmental awareness has caused the reexamination of many societal paradigms. Horror stories about lethal chemical exposures involving isolated cases of ignorance, carelessness or greed have caused the public to demand constant vigilance to prevent exposure to potentially hazardous substances. Accordingly, much time and resource has been expended by the U.S. government and citizens to abate and prevent air and water pollution. While these efforts have met with measurable success, there is increasing public concern about a new generation of pollution-related human illness in office, home and transportation environments. New instances of Sick Building Syndrome or Building Related Illness are reported daily by the popular press. Human health effects such as cancer, infectious disease, allergy and irritation have been ascribed to indoor air pollution. The clinical aspects of indoor air pollution are often discounted by consulting engineers and industrial hygienists involved in indoor air quality. Physicians and clinically-trained scientists have received a “Macedonian call” to sift clinical relevance from the emotional aspects of indoor air quality problems. Point sources of pollutants, associated human health effects, and problem solving approaches associated with indoor air pollution are described. Regulatory and litigational aspects of indoor air pollution are also discussed.