New IAQ Guidelines from Who?

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the December 2010 newsletter.

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month. The excerpt below was originally published in the December 2010 newsletter.

Can you guess which organization released a 484-page guideline on 9 different IAQ contaminants this month? Who? Yes, WHO!

The World Health Organization (WHO) released the latest document is the series, “Who Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality”. The first focused on dampness and mold and was recently featured as our website of the month. This second installment focuses on “Selected Pollutants.” These include:

  • Benzene
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Naphthalene
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Radon
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Tetrachloroethylene

The guidelines include the latest research on health effects of the contaminants. WHO evens proposes guideline concentrations for several of the pollutants.

I recommend downloading the document from the WHO website and saving it in your electronic library. It’s a great reference if you ever deal with IAQ issues stemming from one of the nine subject parameters. Before you tuck it away and forget about it, you should at least read the Executive Summary and Introduction.

I am very impressed with the quality of these guidelines. One annoyance is the way it deals with units of measurement. As an international document, one would expect references to multiple units. However, some sections freely bounce around between different units such as parts per million (ppm) and micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). Yes, some sections report the multiple units together, but you will still need to have a calculator in hand to fully understand all the sections.

To visit this month’s featured website, visit: WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: selected pollutants.

To subscribe to this newsletter click the following link: IAQ Website of the Month.

By Ian Cull

I'm I.A.N. the Indoor Air Nerd. I'm a speaker and consultant on indoor air quality issues. To learn more about me, click "about" at the top of this page.

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