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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
WHO suggests indoor air quality targets
Article Type: News From: Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, Volume 22, Issue 3
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) office for Europe has released guidance setting targets on indoor air quality. These targets on specific indoor chemicals could provide the scientific basis for legally binding limits across the world.
The UN organisation has recommended targets for nine substances: benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, naphthalene, nitrogen dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, radon, trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene. Regarding tetrachloroethylene, the recommended guideline for year-long exposure is 0.25 mg/m3. For formaldehyde, a guideline of 0.1 mg/m3 is advised for any 30-minute period to prevent sensory irritation. A guideline of 7 mg/m3 is defined for 24 hours. A value of 0.01 mg/m3 is set for naphthalene as an annual average. The WHO believes that at least 14% of lung cancers in Europe and west Asia are attributable to residential radon exposure. Exposure to benzene is associated with contracting leukaemia. But awareness of these problems is limited, according to the WMO, a fact which has led to the preparation of the health guidelines.