Article

Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects

Ian Colbeck

in Public Health

ISBN: 9780199756797
Published online February 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0124
Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects

Preview

People often assume that air pollution is a modern phenomenon and that it has become worse in recent times. However, since the dawn of history, mankind has been burning biological and fossil fuels to produce heat. The walls of caves, inhabited millennia ago, are covered with layers of soot, and many of the lungs of mummified bodies from Paleolithic times have a black tone. Air pollution in large cities and industrial areas of western Europe has been increasing since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century; however, it was not until the first half of the 20th century that the adverse health effects of air pollution started attracting scientific attention. Two widely quoted air-pollution episodes, the Great London Smog of 1952 and the Meuse Valley (Belgium) episode of 1930, raised public awareness of the potential health effects of air pollution. While ambient air quality is now improving, indoor air quality has attracted public concern and increasing scientific interest due to the proliferation of sealed buildings, energy conservation programs, new building and consumer products, and the recognition of the health effects of radon and asbestos. Indoor air quality is now an important component of public health.

Article.  8240 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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