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A Proposal of Indoor Air Quality Improvement from SUMINOE
Indoor air contamination
R
ecently it has been proved that a house sickens people(Sick-Building(House) Syndrome).
In U.S.A. and Europe this fact has been discussed since the end of 80’s and in Japan mass communication has not mentioned this problem until the late 90’s. 
The cause of “Sick-House Syndrome” is indoor air contamination by harmful chemicals contained in interior furnishings or furniture, especially by Volatile Organic Compounds(VOC) such as formaldehyde which is contained in adhesives. It is a source of irritation to those who are hypersensitive to chemicals.
When a person is exposed to massive chemicals for a short time or exposed to a small amount of chemicals repeatedly, his body shows hypersensitivity to the particular chemical and he feels nauseated, or has symptoms of allergic skin reactions, eye irritations, dizziness, headache and loss of appetite.
Although plywood, compiled wood, particle board, fiber boards which are made with a lot of adhesives, are indispensable in house construction, formaldehyde is emitted from these materials continuously.
Newly-built houses and new furniture have a smell of formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde generates not only from these plywood but from adhesives used in wallpapers.
Another problem of formaldehyde is that it proves to be a cause of air contamination in not only newly-built houses but old houses, as formaldehyde continues to be emitted steadily over a long period.
Airborne concentrations could change upon temperature or ventilation frequency, so the damage would be serious as the density of formaldehyde becomes stronger when a room is warmed with the windows closed or on hot days.
Airborne concentrations above 0.1 p.p.m. can cause severe irritation of nose, eyes and throat.
The IARC(International Agency for Research on Cancer) has classified formaldehyde as “probable human carcinogen” under conditions of unusually high or prolonged exposure.
WHO advises the standard airborne concentration of formaldehyde indoors as below 0.08 p.p.m. and some European countries advise below 0.1 p.p.m. In Japan, the Ministry of Health and Welfare advises below 0.08 p.p.m.

Airborne Concentration of Formaldehyde and
the Effect on human body
Airborne Concentration Effect on human body
0.03 p.p.m Cause no irritation of eyes, nose or throat
abt. 0.05 p.p.m Smell odor
0.05 ~ 0.45 p.p.m. start irritation of eyes, nose, throat
abt. 0.5 p.p.m. feel unpleasant
2 ~ 3 p.p.m intense irritation of nose , eyes, throat, difficulty in breathing
4 ~ 5 p.p.m. respiratory arrest
50 ~ 100 p.p.m. cause severe poisoning after exposure of 5 to 10 minutes

Airborne concentration standard of
Formaldehyde indoors
Country / Organization Concentration
(p.p.m.)
Remark
W H O 0.08 Guideline
State of California (U.S.A.) 0.05 Advice
State of Wisconsin (U.S.A.) 0.2 Standard
Canada
0.05 Guideline(objective)
0.1 Guideline(action)
Austria 0.08 Advice
Holland 0.1 Standard(Max.)
Sweden 0.1 Advice
Germany 0.1 Advice
Denmark 0.12 Advice
Finland 0.13 Guideline
Australia 0.1 Guideline
Japan(June,1997) 0.08 Guideline
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