Indoor Air Quality Council Recommendations

Adopted by the MIAQC Board of Directors on July 22, 2002


Unless properly designed, constructed, and managed, indoor environments may present serious health and safety risks to building occupants. With regard to indoor air quality, these risks include: 1) respiratory tract infections, 2) aggravation of asthma and allergies, 3) acute poisonings and injuries, 3) cancer, 4) chronic effects on organ systems, 5) occupational lung diseases, and 6) and a variety of symptom complaints (see Table).


Summary of Health and Safety Risks Associated with Indoor Air Environments

Health Risk Responsible Agents/Factors
Respiratory Tract Infections Person to person transmission of Acute Respiratory Febrile Disease,

Influenza, Tuberculosis, Pneumococcal Pneumonia; Building Related Exposure to Legionnella, Histoplasma, Aspergillus

Asthma and allergies Chemical irritants (eg, tobacco smoke); Dust/particles; Mold, Animal Dander
Acute Poisonings and Injuries Combustion pollutants (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides); pesticides; cleaning solvents; art supplies; laboratory chemicals; Accidents
Cancer Radon, Asbestos
Other Chronic Effects (nervous system, neuromuscular, reproductive, etc) Lead, Pesticides
Occupational Lung Diseases

(occupational asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, fibrotic lung diseases)

Occupational Allergens, Particulates, irritant gasses
Symptom Complaints (headaches, fatigue, eye irritation, dizziness, nausea) Dust/particles; Chemical and biological pollutants; indoor temperature and humidity



Risks arise from a wide variety of stressors, and individuals may vary greatly in their responses to them. Furthermore, there are significant gaps in the knowledge base concerning the health impacts. The health risks of some pollutants, such as lead and radon, are known in great detail. For others, however, such as mold and many volatile chemicals, our knowledge of the exposure patterns and health effects is inadequate. As a general principle, therefore, the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council supports building practices that are based on pollution prevention and on the minimal use of toxic or irritating substances.