Exposure to air pollutants in English homes

J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. 2004;14 Suppl 1:S85-94. doi: 10.1038/sj.jea.7500363.


BRE has conducted a national representative survey of air pollutants in 876 homes in England, designed to increase knowledge of baseline pollutant levels and factors associated with high concentrations. Homes were monitored for carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)), formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In the majority of the homes, concentrations of the measured pollutants were low. However, some homes have concentrations that would suggest a need for precautionary mitigation. Those factors that are most likely to lead to exposures of concern in homes are identified as gas cooking (for CO and NO(2)), the use of unflued appliances for heating (for CO and NO(2)), emissions from materials in new homes (for total VOC (TVOC) and formaldehyde), and painting and decorating, with a significant increase in risk suspected to exist where there is not a place to store materials away from the living space (for TVOC). It is noteworthy that seasonal effects on CO and NO(2) were largely due to indoor sources. This would need to be considered when interpreting time series studies of the effect of outdoor air pollution on health. It is also of some significance that the critical factors are related much more to sources than to ventilation: source control is therefore, as would be expected, the most appropriate approach to reducing the risk of hazardous exposure to air pollutants in homes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Data Collection
  • England
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Formaldehyde / analysis
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / analysis
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis
  • Volatilization


  • Organic Chemicals
  • Formaldehyde
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide