Air conditioning systems as non-infectious health hazards inducing acute respiratory symptoms

Ind Health. 2006 Apr;44(2):302-3. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.44.302.


Chronic and acute exposure to toxic aerosols belongs to frequent causes of airway diseases. However, asthma attacks due to long-distance inhalative exposure to organic solvents, transmitted via an air condition system, have not been reported so far. The present case illustrates the possibility of air conditioning systems as non-infectious health hazards in occupational medicine. So far, only infectious diseases such as legionella pneumophila pneumonia have commonly been associated to air-conditioning exposures but physicians should be alert to the potential of transmission of toxic volatile substances via air conditioning systems. In view of the events of the 11th of September 2001 with a growing danger of large building terrorism which may even use air conditioning systems to transmit toxins, facility management security staff should be alerted to possible non-infectious toxic health hazards arising from air-conditioning systems.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Air Conditioning / adverse effects*
  • Asthma
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology*