Materials

bare walls of a room in the raw

Building shell
Source: Friedberg, fotolia.com

Materials, furniture, and cleaning and care products can have a major impact on indoor air quality since they are potential sources of gaseous or particulate emissions. The best known examples are formaldehyde, which is mostly emitted by chipboard and wood preservatives.

The information available on the materials and products used is usually sparse, if it exists at all. This tends to make it difficult to determine which harmful substances in the indoor air might have caused employees’ health complaints.

In order to prevent health complaints of occupants, new-build, reconstruction and refurbishment projects should only use construction chemicals that cause minimum indoor air pollution. It is therefore advisable for the materials used to be limited to those bearing the appropriate test mark.

If emissions occur despite this strategy, it can be useful to heat the room and ventilate it to let in plenty of fresh air. In many cases, the emission rate falls to a very low value after a few months. However, some materials, among them chipboard, can continue to emit significant quantities of substances for longer - even up to several years.


Contact

Dr Simone Peters

Division 3: Hazardous substances: handling, protective measures

Tel: +49 30 13001-3320
Fax: +49 30 13001-38001