What is meant by indoor air quality?
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is often more seriously polluted than outdoor air. Given that many of us spend up to 90 per cent of our time indoors or in vehicles this is significant. For general health, well-being and safety reasons, human beings require a comfortable indoor temperature with air free from dust, irritants, pathogens, unpleasant odours, mould and mildew and other contaminants. Many factors affect indoor air quality (IAQ) in hotels and office buildings including:
- levels of outdoor pollution, caused for example by smog, traffic or aircraft emissions and pesticides
- sources of indoor pollution including the materials used in the fabric of buildings, carpets and soft furnishings, smoking, cleaning chemicals and the use of perfumes and salon products (see table 1)
- the rate of exchange between indoor and outdoor air, i.e. ventilation rates and distribution
- the amount of moisture in the indoor environment, which is considerably increased in hot humid climates, near kitchen areas and if the hotel has a gym, spa or indoor swimming pool. In serious cases this can lead to the growth of mould and mildew which has health implications
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