June 1985
Indoor Air Quality
Research Strategy
 January 1, 1985

  Committee on
 Indoor Air Quality



                                           June 1985

                 January 1, 1985

       Environmental  Protection Agency,  Co-chair
           Department of Energy, Co-chair
 Department  of Health and Human Services, Co-chair
   Consumer  Product Safety Commission,  Co-chair


This document has been reviewed in accordance with
U.S. Lnvironmental Protection Agency policy and
approved for publication.  Mention of trade names
or commercial products does not constitute endorse-
ment or recommendation for use.


     The strategy which follows, to the maximum extent  possible,  reflects

and is consistent with the programs that are ongoing  in various  federal

departments and agencies.  The administration strongly  supports  the

coordination and technical assistance the CIAQ provides to its members

and to the public and private sector.  However, submission of this report

should not be construed as support for a specific  long-term separately

funded research program.  Therefore, no funding levels  and timeframes are

appropriate and included.

                            Table of Contents

               UNITED STATES 	   7
               POLLUTION	11
               TECHNIQUES	12





     The effects of air pollution on human health and welfare have been a

major concern in this country for decades.  Major emphasis  has  been  placed

on outdoor sources, outdoor contaminant concentrations,  and industrial

indoor environments.  However, individuals spend as much as 90  percent  of

their time in indoor environments such as residences, buildings,  and various

modes of transportation.  Studies have established that  indoor  concen-

trations of many pollutants can attain levels  that exceed outdoor ambient

standards, some reaching potentially hazardous levels (1-3).   It  is  becoming

increasingly evident that exposure to pollutants indoors may  be of considerably

greater importance than exposure to pollutants outdoors.  In  addition,

energy conservation measures such as reduction in building  ventilation  and

infiltration rates and use of supplementary heating sources may further

elevate concentrations of pollutants indoors.

     Many organizations have expressed concerns  about indoor  air  quality

including the World Health Organization (WHO)  (4), the National  Academy of

Sciences (NAS)  (5), the American Society of Heating,  Refrigeration and  Air

Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) (6), the Office  of Technology Assessment (7)

and the Consumer Federation of America (8).

     In response to the concerns of these groups and  Congress (9), sixteen

Federal  agencies (see Table 1) formed the Interagency Committee on Indoor

Air Quality (CIAQ) in December, 1983.  One of  the first  actions of the  CIAQ

was to form seven workgroups (see Table 2). These workgroups have identified

current programs and future needs in indoor air  quality  research  in  reports

      Table 1:  Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality (CIAQ) Members

Environmental  Protection Agency  (EPA)a

Department of Energy  (DOE)a

Department of Health and Human Services  (HHS)a

Consumer Product Safety Commission  (CPSC)a

Bonneville Power Administration  (BPA)

Department of Defense  (DOD)

Federal Trade Commission  (FTC)

General Services Administration  (GSA)

Department of Housing and Urban Development  (HUD)

Department of Justice  (DOJ)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration  (NASA)

National Bureau of Standards  (NBS)

Occupational  Safety and Health Administration  (OSHA)

Tennessee Valley Authority  (TVA)

Department of Transportation  (DOT)

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

a  Co-chair of CIAQ
                           Table 2:  CIAQ Workgroups

Allergens/Pathogens--chaired by NIOSH     Organics--chaired by CPSC and EPA

Combustion Sources--chaired by CPSC       Radon--chaired by DOE and EPA

Field Studies--chaired by NIOSH           Structural Characteristics--chaired by DOE

Formaldehyde--chaired by CPSC and EPA

submitted in June, 1984.  These reports are being updated,  and  will  be

distributed through the CIAQ by April, 1985.

     Congressional interest over the quality of indoor  air  has  been  expressed

in hearings before the Committee on Science and Technology, U.S.  House of

Representatives, and in the language of appropriation committee reports  in

both Houses of Congress requiring coordination between  Federal  agencies.

The most recent examples are the May 23, 1984, Department of Housing and

Urban Development-Independent Agencies Appropriation Bill,  1985 Report

and the June 28, 1984, Department of the Interior and Related Agencies

Appropriation Bill 1985 Report.  These reports directed the Environmental

Protection Agency to:

     "... expand current planning efforts for indoor air research  into
     a long-term, comprehensive strategy to identify future research
     needs and priorities.  To assure effective coordination with  other
     involved Federal  agencies, this strategy should be developed  and
     coordinated through the Interagency Committee on Indoor Air
     Quality, which EPA chairs.  The strategy should be submitted  to
     the Congress by January 1, 1985, and indicate the  division of
     responsibilities  among the primary agencies."

and the Department of Energy to:

     "... establish a joint review of the indoor air quality program with
      (the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product  Safety
      Commission) to assure a well  planned, well  coordinated total
      government effort."

     In response to these  Congressional  concerns, the CIAQ  has  sought to

develop a comprehensive research  strategy on indoor air quality.   The

strategy draws on the  varied expertise existing within  the  public  and private

sectors to accomplish  two  aims:

     1.  To develop an understanding of the magnitude of the risk  to

         human health  from exposures to indoor air pollutants and  the

         contribution of  various  energy  conservation measures,  introduction

         of new building  materials  and consumer  products.

     2.  To provide technical  information  and  guidance,  including cost-

         effective mitigation  measures,  to state and local governments,

         the private sector and the general  public.

To accomplish these aims, the  following  six tasks  were  identified as critical

elements of the strategy.  These  tasks form the  basis of this  research

strategy, and are interactive.   In  addition, they  are consistent with the

recommendations expressed by WHO, NAS, ASHRAE, and others.  Accomplishment

of these tasks requires  an integrated effort by  Federal,  state, local and

private sector researchers.

     1.  Identification  of indoor air pollutant  sources  and factors

         affecting human  exposure.

     2.  Characterization of indoor air  quality.

     3.  Determination of the  relationship between energy conservation

         and indoor air  quality.

     4.  Determination of the health effects of  indoor  air pollution.

     5.  Determination of optimal control  and  mitigation techniques.

     6.  Development and  conduct  of national multipollutant field studies.

     We acknowledge that  both  the private  sector and academics  are conducting

indoor air quality research.  The following discussion  describes current

Federal research efforts  addressing each of these  six tasks.   This discussion

is followed by a section  which outlines  a  comprehensive  indoor  air quality

research strategy.  In addition,  to determine  how the six research tasks

integrate into the research strategy, two  case studies,  for radon and

formaldehyde, have been  included  in an Appendix.




     The identification of significant sources of indoor air pollutants

(Table 3), their migration pathways and environmental  factors  that  influence

human exposure provides the basis for the interpretation of monitoring

data and the development of cost-effective control  technology.   To  date,  a

high priority has been placed on programs that delineate the basic  phenomena

that affect human exposure primarily for radon, formaldehyde and other

organics, and combustion pollutants.

     Efforts to determine the sources and dynamics  of  indoor radon  are

di rected to:

     1.  Determine the contributions of soil,  water, and building materials

         to the indoor radon source term;

     2.  Develop models that relate indoor radon concentrations  to  the

         various sources, migration pathways,  driving  forces,  and air

         infiltration rates;

     3.  Determine environmental  factors, such as,  building construction,

         particulate concentrations, temperature,  pressure, humidity,  and

         human activity patterns, that influence human exposure  to  radon

         and its decay products;  and

     4.  Determine radiation dose to the critical  cells of  the  respiratory

         tract from the inhalation of radon  decay  products.

     Research on organic pollutants is directed toward determining  the

contribution of various building  materials as  chronic  sources  of airborne

             Table 3:   Typical  Sources  of  Indoor  Air  Pollutants

Ambient Ai r



Combustion Engines
Building Materials
  Concrete, Stone, Brick
  Pressed wood products
  Adhesives, Paints and  Solvents

Air Conditioners, Humidifiers

Combustion Appliances
  (gas, wood, coal, oil  and kerosene)

Office Machines and Supplies

Cleaners and Polishes



Animals and Pests

Plants, Microbial Contamination

Sulfur Dioxide (S02), Nitrogen Oxides
(NOX), Ozone, Carbon Monoxide (CO),
Particulates, Organics, Metals


Radon, Volatile Organics

NOX, CO, Carbon Dioxide (C02), Organics,
Particulates, Metals
Formaldehyde, Other Volatile Organics
Formaldehyde, Fibers, Asbestosl
Volatile Organics

Bacteria, Fungi, Protozoa
NOX, CO, C02, Water Vapor, Organics, S02,

Formaldehyde, Other Volatile Organics,

Organics, Particulates

Ammonia, Volatile Organics, Particulates
C02, Odors, Hater Vapor, Bacteria
CO, C02, Nitrogen Dioxide (N02),
  Organics, Particulates
Organics, Odor, Water Vapor
Organics, Microorganisms
Organics, Odor

Microorganisms, Mites, Allergens,
  (animal dander, insect parts and feces)

Spores, Pollen, Allergens
1 Asbestos research is not discussed in this strategy,  because Federal
  research and regulatory action are coordinated  through  the Federal
  Asbestos Task Force independent of the CIAQ.


pollutants including formaldehyde.  The relationships between  pollutant

emissions from building materials and building-related factors such as

construction techniques, ventilation, temperature,  humidity and age of the

material are being studied.  Consumer product and structural  sources of

various organic compounds identified indoors are also being evaluated.

     Studies are in progress to determine the emission properties and major

pollutants of combustion sources such as unvented kerosene and gas heaters

and coal/wood stoves.   The influences of appliance  design, ventilation and

use patterns are included in this research.


     The range and frequency distribution of indoor air pollutant concentra-

tions on a nationwide  basis are needed to ascertain the health risks associ-

ated with current exposures.  Concentrations need to be correlated with many

factors including sources, structural characteristics, infiltration and

ventilation rates, geography and climate.  This  information will  be used

to determine the efficacy of control  measures and the impact  of energy

conservation practices.

     Earlier studies which characterized indoor  air pollutants were limited

in scope because they  used small  sample sizes, measured only  single or few

pollutants, studied a  single source,  were conducted in a limited  geographic

area or used different methodologies.  Though valuable in  their context,

these data do not provide a unified  national  picture of indoor air pollution.

Therefore, a national  multi-pollutant field  survey  would provide  the data

base required to develop hypotheses  to further test and determine dose-

response response relationships.   However, before conducting  such a study,


there must be an effort  to:

     1.  Develop instruments to monitor pollutants  and  gather  other  relevant


     2.  Field test these instruments for efficacy,  reliability,  and cost-


     3.  Develop analytical  tools and models;  and

     4.  Centralize this information where interested parties  can  have

         access to it.

Current Federal research which supports these  efforts is  described below.

Methods Development

     Research to develop passive samplers for  carbon monoxide  (CO),  nitrogen

dioxide (N02), carbon dioxide (C02), volatile  organics, water  vapor  and  air

exchange rates is in progress.  Simple cost-effective active sampling

techniques for CO, NO?,  formaldehyde, and organic  vapors  are being evaluated.

Questionnaires to identify pollutant sources and to characterize  structural

characteristics, weatherization conditions and consumer product usage are

being developed.  In addition, coordinated efforts  are  underway to prepare

a standard survey design protocol.

Field Monitoring Studies

     Both existing and new methodologies  are being  tested for  appropriate-

ness and cost-effectiveness  in pilot studies.

Analytical Methods and Models

     Mathematical models are being developed to relate  indoor  pollutant

concentrations to pollutant  sources, removal mechanisms,  thermal  comfort

parameters, and air exchange rates.  These models  will  be used to predict

indoor air quality and associated health effects in indoor environments,

to  simulate the effects of proposed mitigation efforts, and to perform

cost-benefit analyses.  The models will be validated and verified by field


IAQ Data Bases

     To maximize analysis and distribution of information to interested

Federal and local agencies and the private sector, uniform data are needed.

Results from past field studies are being compiled for entry into a single

data base.  Results from current and future field studies will  also be

entered into this data base.



     Potentially adverse indoor contaminant levels are further elevated by

efforts to conserve energy.  These efforts include reduction of building

infiltration and ventilation rates, use of supplemental  heating appliances,

and introduction of certain building materials.   Energy conservation and

indoor air quality requirements will  have important ramifications on the

cost, design and operation of comfort conditioning systems, energy use

patterns and peak energy usage.

     The growing trend in new construction is substantially reduced infil-

tration.  The state of the art is such that typical  levels of about 0.7-1.0

air changes per hour may be reduced to 0.2 air changes per hour.   When

infiltration is reduced to this extent, elevated  levels  of indoor pollutants

may be found.   More research is required to relate ventilation  rates to


indoor air pollutant  concentrations  and to  provide  for the establishment

of energy efficient ventilation  guidelines  which maintain acceptable  indoor

ai r quality.

Infiltration  and Ventilation
     Research efforts devoted  to  infiltration  and  ventilation  studies  in

residential  buildings have  contributed  significantly to the development of

infiltration measurement  techniques,  air  leakage characterization of

buildings, and infiltration modeling  to assess  the impact of reduced

infiltration rates on energy requirements  and  indoor air quality.  Current

research includes:

     1.  Extending single chamber,  residential  infiltration models to

         include all  forms  of  ventilation  (both natural and mechanical);

     2.  Developing and validating  low  cost methods of measuring

         infiltration and leakage,  e.g.,  perfluorocarbon tracer gases

         and acoustic AC  pressurization;

     3.  Testing a multi-chamber  infiltration  model suitable for multi-family

         residential  buildings and  multizone single-family buildings;  and

     4.  Participating in national  and  international efforts to develop

         ventilation, leakage, infiltration, and construction  quality

         guideli nes.

     Only very limited information  exists  on infiltration and  ventilation

in commercial and institutional buildings. Research is required to develop

and validate techniques to measure  ventilation rates and air distribution

patterns.  Prototype  systems are  being  developed which utilize multiple

tracer gases, both actively and passively. Research efforts will test and

validate these systems.  Data  on  ventilation rates and efficiencies are


being collected in a number of commercial buildings and will  be used to

extend the multichamber infiltration model described above.

Combustion Appliances and Building Materials

     Research on supplemental heating appliances has included field studies,

laboratory chamber studies of pollutant emission rates, consumer use surveys

and limited exposure modeling.  Current efforts concentrate on development

of certification test methods and voluntary guidelines for these appliances.

     Formaldehyde emissions from urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, pressed

wood products and fibrous glass insulation have been characterized and

evaluated.  This information has been provided to manufacturers and to

consumers for their consideration in development of voluntary guidelines.

In addition, volatile organic emissions from building materials, such as

sealants and caulking compounds, are now an area of investigation.


     The causal  relationship between indoor pollution exposures and adverse

health effects is critical to the understanding of population risk.  This

relationship is  needed to evaluate the impact of energy conservation and

mitigation strategies.  Occupational and residential  studies  of most indoor

pollutants have  not produced adequate data to determine specific health  effects

and exposure-response relationships for pollutants found in indoor air.

Only limited data are available to define the acute and chronic health effects

from low level  exposure to essentially all  of the indoor air  pollutants.

Generally, such  effects are extrapolated either from occupational  exposure

studies or from  animal  toxicity studies.  Animal  toxicology studies are  in

progress on some indoor air pollutants e.g.,  perchloroethylene, dichlor-

omethane, formaldehyde, and nitrogen dioxide.

     Controlled human exposure studies  have  been  initiated  to  obtain  exposure-

response relationships for specific  acute  health  effects  from  exposure to

pollutants.  Such studies include responses  of sensitive  individuals

(e.g., asthmatics) to exposure to irritant gases  such  as  nitrogen dioxide,

formaldehyde, and sulfur dioxide. Additional  studies  have  been  initiated

to develop biochemical markers of exposure to  specific pollutants and

pollutant sources.  These markers may prove  useful  in  future epidemiological


     Health hazard evaluations are documenting exposures  to low  levels of

numerous air contaminants, such as volatile  organics.   Incidents of

adverse health effects are also being reported in commercial and institu-

tional buildings from exposure to volatile organics,  sidestream tobacco

smoke, fibers, biologically active aerosols, and  allergens. Occupational

exposure studies have provided some  evidence for  human health  effects from

pollutants such as radon and formaldehyde.  Additional studies in progress

may provide further information on such associations.

     Discussions are underway with the National Center for  Health Statistics

(NCHS) on utilizing the National  Health and  Nutrition  Evaluation Survey  III

(NHANES III) to determine adverse health effects  associated with exposure

to indoor air pollutants.


     As in the case of outdoor pollution,  the  identification of  indoor

pollution sources and the development of source control  and mitigation

strategies will reduce exposures  to  elevated indoor pollutant  concentrations.

Control strategies include source control, ventilation,  air purification,

and architectural and materials applications.


     Mitigation and control research is being developed for commercialization

of energy efficient techniques to control  indoor pollutant concentrations.

Current efforts include evaluating techniques to reduce pollutant strengths

and block migration pathways, examining pollutant-specific removal  mechanisms,

and studying ventilation processes in indoor environments.

     Ventilation strategies, with and without heat recovery, air purifi-

cation devices, and architectural and material  applications are appropriate

in some situations, especially when source control is impractical.   The

effectiveness of these mitigation measures is being laboratory tested,

evaluated, and mathematically modeled.

     Pilot mitigation programs are being developed to test a range  of

approaches for reducing excessive concentrations.  The objective of these

studies is to assure the effectiveness of mitigation measures in wide-scale

mitigation programs.  Mitigation measures  are beiny studied as a function of

building characteristics, appliances used, and  occupant use patterns.

     The results of control and mitigation research efforts will  be used to

develop consensus testing protocols, guidelines, and information for developing

voluntary standards, primarily by industry itself.  Pilot  mitigation program

results will  be made available in reports  to state and local  agencies,

utilities, and other groups interested in  mitigation.


     A large  national  multipollutant field survey of indoor air pollution

will be a key component in the CIAQ research program.  The National  Multi-

pollutant Field Survey will provide the data base required to develop

hypotheses to determine dose-response relationships.  The  survey will  draw

upon the results of the previous research  tasks, and the survey results


will  focus future research  in  these ongoing  efforts.   The  survey will

provide an estimate of the  range and distribution  of  indoor  exposures  to

indoor air pollutants, and  identify those  factors  which  influence  their

concentrations.  The impact of energy conservation practices,  including

reduced ventilation rates and  use of supplementary heating sources,  and the

effectiveness of mitigation techniques will  be studied.  A National  Multi-

pollutant Field Survey is necessary to identify and focus  indoor air quality

research efforts, to control  indoor air pollution  and to assess the  impact

of future energy conservation.

     The best approach to obtain health effects data  related to indoor air

quality is being explored.   Information  on health  effects  may  be obtained

from health studies of specific pollutants,  including groups with  high

exposures to indoor air pollutants.  Selected  health  effects information

could be collected as part  of  the national survey. One  approach to  obtaining

health effects data is to conduct an indoor  exposure  study in  conjunction

with another health study such as the NHANES study planned for Fiscal  Year

1988 by NCHS.

     The CIAQ has directed  its Field Studies Workgroup to  direct the planning,

development and execution of this national survey. Over the next  year,

this Workgroup will coordinate the development of  sample design options

for a national survey, taking  into account the research  on factors affecting

exposure levels of specific indoor air pollutants  (e.g., climate,  pollutant

sources, ventilation).  The Workgroup will also evaluate and coordinate

the CIAQ agencies' research efforts in field testing  and participation in

regional indoor air quality studies.  These  coordination efforts will  help


ensure that this Federal  research effort will  provide  the  necessary basis

for conducting a national  field survey.

     In a similar fashion, the Field Studies Workgroup will  review current

health studies, and recommend various options  for obtaining  health effects

information, including a possible joint survey in conjunction  with the


     By the end of FY 1985, the Workgroup will  present various options

for a national indoor air  field survey to the  full  CIAQ for  review and



     Current Federally sponsored research is addressing, in  a  limited  way,

each of the six previously identified tasks.  Because  of the nature of the

indoor air pollution problem, a much more comprehensive program is required

by both the public and private sectors.  The following strategy is directed

at overall program needs,  with the CIAQ and  its  workgroups providing a

central coordinating function in the development process.  Federal  agencies

will  collaborate in the development and accomplishment of  this program

according to their missions, expertise, and  budgetary  capacity.

     Each of the six research tasks discussed  previously is  essential  to

the definition of current  and future trends  in indoor  pollutant exposure,

the consequent risk, and the most effective  mitigation techniques.   In

addition to the current research tasks described in  the previous  sections,

the following research needs must also be pursued.


               - Initiate  research efforts to  identify and quantify  sources
                 of indoor allergens and organic compounds

               - Expand efforts to quantify  sources  and pathways  of  combustion
                 products, radon, and formaldehyde

          - Investigate environmental  factors  (e.g.,  air  exchange  rates,
            structural  characteristics)  affecting  occupant exposures
            to indoor air pollutants

          - Methods Development  and Field Testing

              Develop monitoring instrumentation,  both  active  and  passive,
              for volatile organic  pollutants,  allergens, microorganisms,
              particulates, and  N02

              Refine, field test,  and transfer  to  the  commercial market
              instrumentation  for CO and  all  of the  above

              Develop survey questionnaires  and protocols

          - Quality Assurance

              Develop quality  assurance programs  similar to  that in  place
              for radon for the  important chemical and  biological  pollu-
              tants, to assure that exposure measurements made by  various
              laboratories in  the United  States and  elsewhere  are

          - Analytical Methods and  Modeling

              Develop standardized  techniques for  data  analysis that
              assure validity  and accuracy

              Improve and validate  existing  multipollutant indoor  air
              quality models

          - Data Base

              Expand data bases  to  include measurement  technologies  and
              health effect surveys


          - Develop predictive models for determining  the effects  of
            building design and  energy conservation  practices  on
            future  indoor pollution exposures

          - Refine  passive samplers for multi-zonal  infiltration and
            ventilation studies

          - Develop techniques to perform air infiltration,  ventilation,
            and ventilation efficiency measurements  in  commercial  and
            institutional buildings

     Task #4:  HEALTH EFFECTS

               - Conduct chronic toxicity studies in laboratory animals

               - Study populations particularly sensitive to chemical  or
                 microbial indoor air pollutants

               - Develop biochemical  markers for exposure to pollutants
                 e.g., urinary cotinine for passive tobacco smoke and
                 urinary hydroxylproline for
                 Evaluate the toxicity of low level  exposure to particulates
                 and other chemicals both individually and in combinations

                 Develop and conduct appropriate epidemiological  studies
                 for indoor pollutants, e.g., radon  and formaldehyde

                 Utilize more sophisticated approaches to study the health
                 effects of pollutants such as N02,  CO and formaldehyde

                 Evaluate the use of Cf>2 in large buildings to predict
                 complaints of tight building/sick building syndrome
                 Develop and evaluate source control  and  mitigation  measures
                 for risk reduction and cost effectiveness  for  a  broad  range
                 of indoor environments and pollutants

                 Validate minimum ventilation requirements  to support consensus
                 guidelines designed to provide acceptable  health and comfort
                 levels in indoor environments

               - Develop and conduct a multipollutant  field  survey  to determine
                 the national  distribution  of indoor exposures  and  associated
                 health effects

               - Utilize survey results to  design  and  conduct  specific studies
                 to obtain additional  information  about  health  effects,  energy
                 conservation, pollutant sources and control options

     In summary, a major national  effort is needed to  implement  this  compre-

hensive indoor air quality research strategy.  Action  is needed  by  both  the

public and private sectors.  The CIAQ's role in addressing this  problem  will

be to coordinate Federal  research  efforts,  and  to  develop new mechanisms  for

interacting with state and  local  governments  and the  public and private sectors.

Through the CIAQ workgroups,  research  conducted in  other  programs,  such as  the

National  Toxicity Program,  will  be  used  to  augment  indoor air quality efforts.

The CIAQ will  also periodically  evaluate research results to reassess health

risks associated with  indoor  air pollution.   Finally, the CIAQ will  make  a

concerted effort to assure  technology  transfer through  dissemination of

research results and participation  in  symposia, public  meetings,  and work-



                                 Appendix A

                   Case Studies:   Radon and Formaldehyde

     The case studies which follow demonstrate how these six  tasks  delineated

in the strategy are being pursued for both radon  and formaldehyde.


     The inhalation of the decay  products of radon is likely  to be  one of the

most significant sources of risk  to human health  from indoor  air pollution,

contributing to approximately 5,000 to 15,000 lung cancer cases per year  (10).

Expertise in radon research has been developed in DOE,  EPA, and HHS programs

in response to recognized problems in uranium, phosphate and  radium industrial

activities.  In recent years, increased attention has been given by DOE,

EPA, HUD, NBS, TVA, and BPA to the overall  problems associated  with environ-

mental radon exposure, both outdoor and indoor.   Coordination of these

research efforts has been achieved through the ad-hoc Interagency Research

Group on Indoor Air Quality and,  since 1983, the  Radon  Working  Group of the

Committee on Indoor Air Quality.   As a consequence of this work, the capability

of assessing the health risks associated with current and possible  future

exposures of the U.S. population  to radon is more advanced than for any

other indoor air pollutant.

     The research progress to date can be related to the six  tasks  of  this

strategy document in the following way:

Task #1   Sources and Influence of Environmental Factors

     This identification of sources of indoor radon and  the influence  of

environmental  factors on radon concentrations has  been  a main thrust of


Federally sponsored  research.   DOE,  EPA,  and  TVA sponsored  research  programs

have established the existence and  relative  importance  of  soil,  water  and

building materials as radon  sources.  In  the  United  States,  soil  is  usually

the dominant source.  DOE research  has identified pressure  differentials

and convective processes as  the mechanisms  for  driving  most  of the  radon into

structures.  EPA and DOE research groups  are  cooperatively  developing  models

of environmental  and structural  factors influencing  radon  and decay  product


Task #2  Characterization of Exposure

     Major efforts have been made to develop  and evaluate  techniques for the

measurement of radon and its decay  products.   Methods are  now available, many

commercially, for both active and passive measurements. DOE, EPA,  Bureau  of

Mines (BOM), NBS, state agencies, academia,  and the  private  sector  have

cooperated in the conduct of intercomparisons of measurement instruments

and techniques.  The DOE Environmental Measurements  Laboratory and  the BOM

Denver Research Center are two of the four  reference laboratories in an

international intercalibration program being  sponsored  by  the Organization

of Economic Cooperation and  Development  (OECD)  Nuclear  Energy Agency.

     Exposure data obtained  in limited Federally sponsored  field studies

constitute a significant fraction of the  overall data base on indoor radon

exposure in the United States.  The available data are  currently being used

to initially assess the frequency distribution  of radon exposure.  They

suggest that the inhabitants of perhaps  a million homes in  the United  States

are exposed to radon levels  in excess of  the  current recommendation for

remedial action of the National  Council  on  Radiation Protection  and

Measurements (11).

Task #3  Energy Conservation

     The effect of energy conservation practices on radon exposure is related

primarily to those conservation measures which reduce air exchange rates.

DOE, BPA, and TVA have conducted field studies of radon exposure which have

included investigations of exposure before and after retrofitting and in

energy-efficient structures.

Task #4  Health Effects

     Extensive studies of radon exposure and accompanying health effects in

selected populations of mine workers have been sponsored by HHS, BOM, EPA,

and DOE, and groups in other countries.  These studies have established a

clear association of radon exposure with the incidence of lung cancer in

miners.  Models have been developed which extrapolate these results to

individuals in normal  environmental situations.  These developments form

the basis for the non-occupational  risk estimates used by the various

Federal agencies.  Case-control epidemiological studies in the environmental

situation must be conducted to reduce the uncertainties in these risk

estimates.  For example, an important element of future studies would be

establishing the possible relationship between radon exposure and smoking

in the induction and promotion of lung cancer.

Task #5  Control and Mitigation

     Radon source control  and mitigation research is being conducted  to

develop both retrofit  techniques for existing structures and  improvements

in construction practices for new housing.   Mitigation methods, such  as air-

to-heat exchangers,  use of sealants, and mechanical  ventilation of substructure

spaces, are being evaluated.  New EPA and DOE research initiatives are


being directed at controlling  radon  sources.   Practical  retrofit techniques

are likely to be available in  the near future.   Future  studies  will  emphasize

the control  of radon entry through revised  building  design  and  construction


Task #6  National Multipollutant Survey

     The National Multipollutant Survey now being  considered  will  include a

radon component.  In addition, the CIAQ is  also  considering a separate

national radon survey which could be started  and completed  much sooner,

since radon sampling protocols are currently  available.   The  product of

these survey efforts will  be the national  frequency  distribution of radon

exposure and information on factors  that  influence this  distribution.  This

information is of interest to agencies such as EPA and  HUD  as means to

identify structures that have, or are likely  to  have, unusually high radon

levels.  This distribution is also valuable to DOE,  TVA  and BPA in the

assessment of future trends in exposure due to the introduction of advanced

conservation technology.  These Federal agency interests are  considered  in

decisions to assist state and  local  agencies  with  their  indoor  pollutant

field studies.

     The CIAQ Radon Working Group will provide a mechanism  for  updating  the

inventory of Federal radon research  and evaluating research priorities,

thereby determining the role of the various agencies in  Federal radon


     Formaldehyde is a highly irritating gas which has  caused  cancer in
animals.  Indoor concentrations are generally much higher  than outdoors.
Low level acute exposures as encountered in indoor air  have resulted in
eye, nose and throat irritation, while long-term exposures have been
associated with health problems such as headaches, dizziness,  nausea,
coughing, recurring infections of upper respiratory tract  and  menstrual
irregularities.  Formaldehyde is also a sensitizer at least via the
dermal  route.  There are human studies that suggest that formaldehyde
exposures may be associated with genotoxic changes in the  blood and  cancers
of skin, brain, blood (leukemia), pharynx, larynx, and  lung.
     The major sources of formaldehyde indoors are generally pressed wood
products, insulations and combustion.  Other sources include textiles,
furnishings, and consumer products.   CPSC, EPA,  HUD, DOE,  industrial
organizations, and academia have developed expertise and are working to
define the overall problems associated with formaldehyde exposure.
Coordination of research efforts have been carried out  through  the Interagency
Regulatory Liaison Group (IRLG), Ad-hoc Interagency Research Group on Indoor
Air Quality, CPSC liaison with government  agencies and  industry, and more
recently thorugh the formaldehyde workgroups of  the CIAQ and the Interagency
Risk Management Council  (IRMC).  As  a result,  the  capability of assessing
risks from formaldehyde  exposure is  more advanced  than  any other chemical
indoor  pollutant.
     The research progress to date can be  related  to the six tasks of this
strategy document in the following way:

Task #1  Sources and Influence  of Environmental  Factors

     CPSC, DOE, EPA, HUD,  TVA,  and industrial  groups  have  identified the

importance of source strength,  emission  rates,  background  concentrations,

decay rates and environmental  factors  on indoor formaldehyde  levels.

Task #2  Characterization  of Exposure

     The efforts of CPSC,  DOE,  EPA and the  private  sector  have  resulted in

development of commercially available  active  and passive formaldehyde

monitors.  Limited intercomparisons of instruments  and techniques  have

been conducted by CPSC, DOE, EPA and the private sector.   More  studies are

in progress.  The multiple factors influencing  indoor formaldehyde levels

are being incorporated into predictive models.   The CPSC,  DOE,  EPA, TVA,

various State Departments  of Health, and the  private  sector have conducted

small scale field studies  to obtain exposure  data.  The  results from these

studies, even though obtained with differing  methodologies, constitute the

major portion of available exposure data, and indicate a significant portion

of the U.S. population may be exposed  to elevated levels of formaldehyde.

Task #3  Energy Conservation

     The effects of reduced ventilation  rates and use of supplementary

heating sources on indoor  formaldehyde emission rates and  concentrations

have not been extensively  investigated.   Limited data suggest that formaldehyde

concentrations may not be  inversely proportional  to changes in  air exchange



Task #4  Health Effects

     Health effects data on formaldehyde were generated and compiled through

the efforts of CPSC, EPA, NIOSH, National Cancer Institute, academia,

industry, and similar institutions in Europe.  A consensus regarding the

adverse health effects from low-level exposure to formaldehyde was agreed

to at a conference sponsored by the White House Office of Science and

Technology Policy (OSTP) (12).  The use of data and models for estimation of

cancer risk from exposure to formaldehyde is being coordinated through the

Interagency Risk Management Council (IRMC).  The Formaldehyde Workgroup

of the CIAQ will continue to inventory, evaluate, and distribute the results

of health-related research.

Task #5  Control and Mitigation

     Early steps toward defining the appropriate control  and mitigation

techniques were taken by CPSC, Canadian Department of Consumer Protection

and the private sector.  However,  more extensive efforts  await the

understanding of sources and factors that influence indoor concentrations.

Task #6  National  Multipollutant Survey

     The National  Multipollutant Survey now being planned will  include a

formaldehyde monitoring component.   Once an inter-laboratory comparison of

commercially available methods is  completed, the CIAQ may consider a  separate

national  radon and formaldehyde survey.  The national  frequency distribution

of formaldehyde exposure coupled with probable sources  and building structural

characteristics is necessary to identify populations  at risk,  define  control

and mitigation measures, and assess the impact of future  trends in energy



     Th e Formaldehyde Workgroup of the CIAQ will  continue  to  provide  a

mechanism for compiling formaldehyde research,  evaluating  overall  research

priorities, and performing peer reviews of a)  proposed projects,  b) data  from

completed studies, and c)  documents generated  by  Federal  agencies.  As  a

consequence, the workgroup will  define for the CIAQ the role  of various

agencies in Federal formaldehyde research.

 1.  Government Accounting Office,  Indoor  Pollution:  An  Emerging  Public  Health
     Problem (Government Printing  Office,  Washington, D.C.,  1980).

 2.  "Symposium on health aspects  of indoor  air  pollution,"  Bull.  N.Y. Acad.
      Med. 57 (1981)

 3.  "Proceedings of  the 3rd International Conference on  Indoor Air  Quality and
     Climate,"  (Swedish Council  for Building Research,  Stockholm,  Sweden, 1984).

 4.  Health Aspects Related to  Indoor Air  Quality  (World  Health Organization,
     Geneva, 1979).

 5.  Committee  on Indoor Pollutants, National  Research  Council, Indoor Pollutants
     (National  Academy Press,  Washington,  D.C.,  1981).

 6.  The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and  Air Conditioning
     Engineers, Inc., "Position  statement  on indoor air quality,"  approved by
     the ASHRAE board of directors  on July 1,  1981.

 7.  Office of  Technology and  Assessment,  Residential Energy Conservation
     (Government Printing Office,  Washington,  D.C., 1979).

 8.  Consumer Federation of America, "Policy Resolutions  1985", in preparation.

 9.  House of Representatives,  90th Congress,  1st  Session, H.R. 2899, Report
     No.  98-212, Part I, referred  to the  Committee on  Appropriations on
     May 16, 1983.

10.  National Council  on Radiation  Protection, Evaluation of Occupational and
     Environmental  Exposures to  Radon and  Radon  Daughters in the United States,
     Report No. 78, May 31, 1984.

11.  A.V.J. Nero, Lawrence Berkely  Laboratory  Publication, LBL-10525  (August

12.  Office of  Science and Technology Policy,  Report on the  Consensus Workshop
     on Formaldehyde  (Little Rock,  Ar.,  October  3-6, 1983).