Key points

  • People spend most of their time indoors, so the quality of indoor air has major implications for health.
  • Indoor air pollution can contribute to a wide spectrum of respiratory health effects, from allergic sensitisation to cancer.
  • Indoor air pollution is largely the result of human activity, such as tobacco smoking, burning fuel for heat or cooking, the use of cleaning materials and solvents, and even breathing. Several pollutants may interact in a given environment.
  • Natural pollutants such as allergens, dampness and mould, and radon, can also have significant health effects.
  • Reflecting the complexity of indoor pollution, the most effective ways to reduce its impact are home-based, multi-component interventions.

See the entire Indoor environment Chapter