CALIFORNIA AIR RESOURCES BOARD
Auditorium, First Floor
400 "P" Street
May 21, 1987
87-7-1 Public Meeting to Consider Information 001
Regarding Indoor Air Quality and Personal
Exposures to Air Pollutant.
87-7-2 Third Annual Joint Meeting of the Air Resources Board
and Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants;
Discussion of AB 1807 Process.
a. Closed Session
1. Personnel (as authorized by State Agency Open Meeting
Act, Govt. Code Sec. 11126(a).).
2. Litigation (Pursuant to the attorney-client privilege,
Evidence Code Sec. 950-962, and Govt. Code Sec.
b. Research Proposals
c. Delegations to Executive Officer
ITEM NO.: 87-7-1
Indoor Air Quality/Personal Exposure Presentation.
This presentation to the Board will describe current knowledge
regarding indoor air pollutants and personal exposures to them,
the public health risk implications as currently understood, and
methods of controlling indoor pollution. Relevant activities of
governmental agencies will also be discussed, including the Air
Resources Board's new indoor air quality/personal exposure
This is an information item; no regulatory action will be
proposed or taken at this time.
Examination of current information indicates that indoor air
pollution may pose a potentially serious risk to human health in
addition to the known risks from ambient (outdoor) air pollution.
Some air pollutants are found at higher levels indoors than
outdoors and, in some cases, indoor concentrations have been
found to exceed health-based ambient standards that the Board and
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have set for them. In
addition, human activity pattern studies conducted worldwide
indicate that people, on the average, spend 90 percent of their
time indoors. Members of sensitive subgroups of the population,
such as the elderly, infants, and persons with pulmonary or
cardiovascular disease, may spend nearly 100 percent of their
time indoors. Accordingly, in some cases critical exposures to
some pollutants are experienced indoors, particularly for members
of the most sensitive population subgroups.
HEALTH EFFECTS AND RISKS
Pollutants of concern include tobacco smoke, respirable
particles, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde and
other volatile organic chemicals, radon, asbestos, and biological
contaminants. These pollutants have the potential to cause a
variety of health effects at indoor concentrations, ranging from
headache and throat irritation to respiratory disease and cancer.
Quantification of the actual health risk posed by indoor air
pollutants in California is difficult at this time because
necessary detailed information is not available. Knowledge of
indoor levels of toxic air contaminants in California and
synergistic effects between indoor pollutants is particularly
lacking. More data on both indoor air quality and on actual
personal exposures to pollutants are needed.
However, current findings are cause for concern and imply the
need for a change in current governmental approaches to
determining air pollution-related health risk and the most
effective measures to reduce that risk. It is apparent that
total exposure is an important consideration in health risk
assessment for both toxic air contaminants and criteria
SOURCES AND CONTROL STRATEGIES
Indoor sources of pollutants include cigarettes; combustion
appliances, such as gas heaters and stoves; building materials,
such as plywood, paint, and insulation; consumer products,
including aerosols, solvents, home and office furnishings and
pesticides; and human activities, such as vacuuming and
woodworking. Exposure to indoor pollutants may be limited
through changes in behavior patterns; removal, substitution, or
modification of pollutant sources; improved ventilation; and air
Governmental response to indoor air quality problems has been
limited up to this point, since son single federal or state
agency has comprehensive regulatory authority over indoor air
quality. In 1983, Congress directed the formation of an
interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality (CIAQ) to coordinate
indoor air quality research at the federal level and to assist
and coordinate federal responses to indoor air quality issues.
Because of the diffuseness of federal authority over indoor air
matters (fifteen agencies belong to the CIAQ), federal efforts to
date have focused primarily on research of the problem
identification of issues, although some attempts at control of
indoor pollutants have been made.
At the state level, the Department of Health Services (DHS) has
been given a mandate to conduct research on indoor air quality
and to coordinate indoor air quality activities of other state
and local agencies. However, DHS has no specific indoor
regulatory authority. A number of other state agencies have
limited authority over various aspects of indoor air quality
specifically related to their primary mission. From the
information available, it appears that regulatory control over
building standards is well established in the state but that
authority over residential and public building airspace, tobacco
smoking, consumer products, and building materials is limited.