Indoor Air Quality

We spend 90% of our time indoors – sleeping, working, studying, commuting – but understanding of indoor air quality, its interactions with outdoor pollution, exposure and health implications is in its infancy – and are the subject of current research. 

Indoor air contains a number of air pollutants that may affect the health of residents. They include particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and airborne allergens. Key indoor air pollutant sources include cooking, heating stoves, cigarette smoke, personal consumer products, office devices (such as printers) and air pollution from ambient air. The huge complexity in indoor air pollution sources and emissions and their interactions with outdoor air poses a major challenge in predicting personal exposure. 

There are a number of factors in the indoor environment which could trigger or worsen respiratory disease, including cigarette smoke and airborne allergens (e.g. house dust mites or animal dander). Occupational factors in our working environment may also occur indoors, affecting those who are healthy as well as those with respiratory problems, and sometimes may be less obvious than the commonly known agents such as asbestos or other building dusts. Temperature and ventilation have also become of interest in general lung health, particularly since the advent of Covid-19.

Image of a lit wood burner, set in a fire place.

The aim of this strand is to provide scientific evidence base on the understanding of the sources, chemistry, personal exposures and health effects of indoor air pollution in order to reduce indoor air pollution exposure and improve public health, particularly of vulnerable people. 

To this aim, we will work to:

9 Build-8

Build a new cross-college interdisciplinary community on indoor air pollution emissions, chemistry, exposure and health impacts

9 Generate-8

Generate new knowledge to better understand and quantify human behavioural change and practices that affect indoor air pollution

9 Develop-8

Develop novel interventions to reduce exposure to indoor air pollution and to mitigate health risks at vulnerable stages of the life course


9 Contribute-8

Contribute to environmentally friendly design and manufacturing of personal care, office, air quality and health products and services to protect health

9 Support-8

Support our stakeholders, including the NHS, local authorities, charity groups, businesses and the general public in their missions to reduce the impact of indoor air pollution and to improve public health


 Indoor Air Quality: Resources: