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Indoor air in healing environments: Monitoring chemical pollution in inpatient rooms

Marco Gola (Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Lombardia, Italy)
Gaetano Settimo (Department of Environment and Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Roma, Lazio, Italy)
Stefano Capolongo (Department of Architecture, Built environment and Construction engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Lombardia, Italy)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 14 February 2019

Issue publication date: 19 June 2019




Several countries have carried out air quality monitoring in professional workplaces where chemicals are used. Health-care spaces have been less investigated. This paper aims to define a protocol, as developed by a research group, for inpatient rooms to understand the state of the art and to suggest design and management strategies for improving process quality.


Starting from the ISO-16000 standard and guidelines for monitoring activities, a protocol is defined for a one year investigation, with passive samplers. Through data analysis of the investigations and analysis of the cleaning and finishing products, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and maintenance activities, etc., it is possible to highlight the potential influences of chemical pollution.


A methodology is defined for understanding the chemical pollution and the possible factors related to construction materials, cleaning products and maintenance activities.

Research limitations/implications

The paper analyzes only a limited number of case studies because the monitoring activity is still in progress.

Practical implications

The investigation offers a starting point for a wide tool for the definition of design, maintenance and management strategies in health-care facilities.

Social implications

The research project, aimed at improving the knowledge of indoor air quality (IAQ) in inpatient rooms, is a starting point for a supporting tool for future regulations concerning health-care facilities.


IAQ is an issue on which many governments are focusing. Several health-care researchers have reported studies that aim at improving users’ health. Most investigations are about biological and physical risks, but chemical risks have been less studied. The paper suggests some design and management strategies for inpatient room.



The authors and detectors thank the medical directors of the hospitals analyzed and all the health-care staff involved in fill in the activity logs. The authors want to thank Arch. Ambra Mele and Arch. Barbara Tolino for their support in the first steps of the research activities and for some figures and Dr Veruska Mannoni, Dr Marco De Felice and Dr Giorgio Padula for the data analysis in the laboratories of Istituto Superiore di Sanità. The authors acknowledge also Arch. Eleftheria Savvopoulou and Prof. Evangelia Chrysikou for their support in paper development.

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


Gola, M., Settimo, G. and Capolongo, S. (2019), "Indoor air in healing environments: Monitoring chemical pollution in inpatient rooms", Facilities, Vol. 37 No. 9/10, pp. 600-623.



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