affecting YOUR IAQ 
(Indoor Air Quality)
Created Monday, 18 September 2023

How usual items and actions affect the air and people

Most of us are aware that there may be a lot of pollution in the outdoor air. But not everyone knows that the air in our buildings is often 2-5 times more polluted, and in some cases, even a hundred times more polluted than the air outside. So, where do the pollutants in the indoor air come from and how do we mitigate their impact?

Even when buildings have ventilation systems with high-quality air filters, a certain quantity
of smaller airborne particles and gases will always reach the indoor air. 


We could fully protect ourselves from air pollution by spending all our time in rooms where
the air is basically 100 percent purified. But clinically clean indoor environments would not
be good for us. To maintain a healthy immune system, we need to be exposed to a certain
level of particulates, bacteria and other substances reaching us through the air. A useful
guideline is that the indoor air should be 50–70% cleaner than the outdoor air.


To promote health and well-being, we need to be aware of what is in the indoor air and where
the pollutants come from. Below is a list of common air pollution that is generated from sources
inside our buildings and some advice on how you can potentially mitigate their impact: 






Many OFFICE PRINTERS emit ultrafine particles and also ozone. Printers can cause indoor particle 
counts to increase five to ten times during office hours. If possible, place the printer
 separately in a well-ventilated room from which particles cannot spread to other office areas.








COMPUTERS are significant sources of indoor pollution. They emit chemicals like phenol, toluene, 2-ethylhexanol, formaldehyde, and styrene. Emissions from PCs can cause headaches, rashes, coughing, fatigue, etc. and decrease employee productivity. Well-functioning ventilation with high-quality air filters, preferably combined with air purifiers, lessens the impact of PC-emissions. 






ELECTRONIC GOODS emit a variety of substances, particularly when they are new. Proper ventilation will always reduce the potential health impact.










CARPETS should be kept as clean as possible. Otherwise, they can collect pollutants, like, for example, dust mites, particle pollution, mould spores, lead, dirt, dust, pesticides, etc. Vacuum them frequently using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, preferably outside office hours. If possible, choose carpets that can be taken away to be cleaned at regular intervals. Some new carpets are manufactured using VOCs that can potentially emit odours and chemicals, and the adhesives used to install them can also contain harmful chemicals.







BUILDING MATERIALS and FURNITURE that contain pressed wood often emit gases like VOCs 
and formaldehyde as the materials age. We recommend choosing products with low or no emissions. 
Do not use products that contain benzene (can cause cancer) or methylene chloride (becomes 
carbon monoxide in the body).






FRESH PAINT on walls and other surfaces dries quickly, but the paint continues to emit various substances for a long period of time. A well functioning ventilation system will keep the air clean.









more hazardous particles than stearic candles. SCENTED CANDLES give off artificial substances, which can be deposited in our bodies in the form of formaldehyde. Candles made from paraffin have wicks that contain cadmium or lead to extend their 
burning time. There is also research indicating that candles burning with a flickering flame are the most 
harmful because they release more soot particles. 








GAS STOVES emit particles in 
the form of nitrogen oxides, which degrade the indoor air quality, harm our respiratory system and damage the climate. Gas stoves leak emissions even when turned off. The best way to protect ourselves, is to ensure adequate ventilation in the kitchen, especially while cooking. Use an exhaust fan to ventilate the indoor air to the outside. Supplement the fan and  the ventilation system with an air purifier, for example, Camfil City M or S. 







COOKING and, in particular, frying give rise to particles and other harmful substances that should 
be removed from the air immediately. It is also important to clean fan filters regularly and change molecular filters if these are installed.







When MATTRESSES, FURNITURE and TEXTILES are new, they give off high concentrations of softening agents and other substances, which can be harmful if we inhale them. Airing mattresses and textile products will reduce your exposure.






VACUUM CLEANERS should be fitted with highly efficient HEPA filters which will help reduce the number of particles in the air.






Do not use SCENT CARTRIDGES in the vacuum cleaner or PERFUME GRANULES to clean carpets - they emit unhealthy substances.*


More things to consider:


Regular and careful CLEANING  at work, at home and in other buildings will help ensure a healthier
and more productive indoor environment.


Do not use AIR FRESHENERS. They do not remove unpleasant smells but simply cover them up
with a different scent, which consists of particles and gases that are not good for your health.


MITES are responsible for around 3% of allergies. They are more likely to flourish in made beds than
in unmade ones. To reduce their chance of survival, it is a good idea to leave your bed to air in the


The more AIR that comes in from the OUTSIDE, the higher the oxygen content in the indoor air.
Unfortunately, the quantities of particles and other substances also increase. It is important to find a
healthy balance.


EXHAUST GASES and other substances produced by a variety of COMBUSTION PROCESSES can
enter buildings in excessive quantities if the ventilation system is equipped with air filters of poor quality.


 Even though there are many potential sources of air pollution in our buildings, there are also
effective ways to clean the air. A well-functioning ventilation system with high-grade filtration in
combination with air purifiers ensures that landlords can offer their tenants a healthy indoor
air environment.




*Ref. Daily Mirror, UK:
A study carried out by Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the
University of York, found that an ingredient commonly used to give candles their scent mutates into
formaldehyde upon contact with the air.