WHO guide on clean indoor air

By Priyanka Chandola
Published: Monday 31 August 2009

First of its kind advisory on making buildings damp and mould-free

people who stay indoors risk respiratory problems just as much as those exposed to outdoor air pollution. In fact, people living or working in buildings that are damp and have mould are at 75 per cent greater risk of getting respiratory problems and asthma. This is the latest finding of the World Health Organization (who). The finding accompanies a set of first-of-its-kind guidelines on indoor air quality. The who guidelines address damp and mould in buildings.

Dampness and poor ventilation lead to growth of microbes such as mould, fungi and bacteria that emit spores, cells and volatile organic compounds that pollute indoor air, who experts said. Indoor dampness affects up to 50 per cent indoor environments in Europe, North America, Australia, China, Japan and India, they added while issuing a list of remedial measures that building owners and occupants could take to improve indoor environment. "The criteria for what constitutes healthy indoor air, provided by the guidelines, are key to identifying effective action and preventing indoor air pollution related diseases. We believe it will contribute to improving the health of people around the world," said Michal Krzyzanowski, regional adviser on non-communicable diseases and environment at who regional office for Europe in Bonn.

Thirty leading experts, worldwide, coordinated the study by the who- Europe.

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