Primary Causes of Indoor Air Problems

Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the area. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.

Primary pollutant sources include:

  • Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
  • Fuel-burning combustion appliances
  • Tobacco products
  • Excess moisture
  • Products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)
  • Building materials and furnishings as diverse as:
    • Deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation
    • Newly installed flooring, upholstery or carpet
    • Cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products
  • Outdoor sources such as:
    • Radon
    • Pesticides
    • Outdoor air pollution