Future Directions of Research on Indoor Environment, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), and Health

  • Dan NorbäckEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine book series (CTEHPM)


The impact of the indoor environment on human health will continue to be an important topic in the future. Large prospective studies and intervention studies are needed in different indoor environments, including homes, schools, day care centers, offices, and hospitals. More epidemiological studies using biomarkers of health effects are needed. There can be different sensitive subgroups in the population reacting more strongly to indoor air pollution, linked to age, gender, allergic disposition (atopy), personality traits, stress, dietary habits, and certain types of medication. More research is needed on sensitive subgroups in a broader perspective. Investigations are needed on gene-environment interaction and gene expression in relation to different types of indoor exposure. There is a needed to continuously evaluate the health consequences of new building technologies and to perform small-scale testing of new building materials in real buildings before they are commonly used in large-scale production. It is a different task to control chemical emissions from building materials. Emission testing of building materials at dry laboratory conditions may not be relevant to evaluate chemical emissions in building with dampness. More research is needed to identify types of dampness-related exposure and etiology behind health effects of dampness and mould in buildings. There is a need to apply modern statistical methods to study multiple interactions between different VOC and other indoor factors in indoor environments with respect to health effects. Existing computer-based simulation models should be used to evaluate the risk of dampness and indoor mould growth when designing new buildings. Risk constructions, known to have a high probability for dampness and mould, should be avoided. Relevant authorities on national and international levels should set standards for concentrations of specific VOC in indoor air. Hopefully, in the future, there will be mandatory check-ups and checklists for quality improvements in the built environment. Epidemiological studies are needed on health consequences of energy use and energy saving in buildings in different climate zones, as well as on health consequences of climate change. Adaption of buildings and architectural interventions are needed to counteract the health consequences of climate change.


Dampness Mould Climate change Energy efficiency Biomarkers New building materials Chemical emissions Indoor environment Respiratory health Allergies 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical SciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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