tions or because of efforts to reduce energy use might protect occupants from one set of problems but would increase their exposure to another: such buildings tend to have decreased ventilation rates, higher concentrations of indoor-emitted pollutants, and more occupants reporting health problems.

Against that backdrop, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene an expert committee to summarize the current state of scientific understanding with respect to the effects of climate change on indoor air and public health. It provided three examples of key questions to address:

  • What are the likely impacts of climate change in the United States on human exposure to chemical and biological contaminants inside buildings, and what are the likely public health consequences?
  • What are the likely impacts of climate change on moisture and dampness conditions in buildings, and what are the likely public health consequences?
  • What are the priority issues for action?

This report, prepared by the Committee on the Effect of Climate Change on Indoor Air Quality and Environmental Health, provides a response to that charge.


The first three chapters of the report present introductory and background materials. Subsequent chapters address five major issues related to potential alterations in indoor environmental quality (IEQ) induced by climate change:

  • The chemical, organic, and particulate pollutants that can be found in the indoor environment—including infiltrates from the outdoors and pollutants resulting from indoor combustion and other indoor emission sources—and the possible health effects of exposure to them (Chapter 4).
  • The health implications of damp indoor spaces, including the effects of exposure to mold and bacteria and their components and to outgassing from the degradation of wet building materials (Chapter 5).
  • How various infectious agents, insects, and arthropods that can be found indoors may be affected by climate change (Chapter 6).
  • The physiologic, economic, and social factors that influence vulnerability to prolonged exposure to temperature and humidity

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement