The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) program is part of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The program was created in 1983 and was the first state IAQ program in the nation. Assembly Bill 3200 (Tanner, 1982) established the program's statutory mandate to safeguard the public interest through a coordinated and coherent effort to protect and enhance indoor environmental quality (Copyright Clearance) in California residences, public buildings, and offices (California Health and Safety code (105400-105430.)
The program's mission is to investigate indoor air pollution, develop solutions, and promote healthy indoor environments. The program coordinates IAQ activities among key governmental agencies, academic institutions, and industry stakeholders through the California Interagency Working Group on IAQ. The program provides technical guidance, on behalf of CDPH, on proposed legislation, regulations, and professional standards. We also provide information to city and county health agencies and the public.
The program is part of CDPH's Environmental Health Laboratory Branch within the Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control. From 1982-93, the program focused on the characterization and measurement of human exposure to indoor pollutants. Currently the program develops techniques and conducts studies to investigate links between environmental exposures and disease. The interdisciplinary staff of six includes chemists, a microbiologist, an epidemiologist, and engineers.
To investigate indoor air pollution in California, develop solutions, and promote healthy indoor environments.
The staff members of the IAQ Program previously have carried out original research on a variety of IAQ issues such as: the measurement of formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide in mobile homes; the identification of asbestos in public buildings; evaluations of radon concentrations in California residences and schools; a survey of accidental deaths due to carbon monoxide exposure; the feasibility and effectiveness of building "bake-outs;" the effectiveness of ultraviolet radiation and ventilation to control the spread of airborne infections such as tuberculosis; the evaluation of indoor exposure to Proposition 65 chemicals from consumer products; the development of guidelines for building managers on the prevention of Legionnaire's disease; and an assessment of the effectiveness of engineering controls for designated smoking areas to control tobacco smoke exposure in public buildings (see Program Publications).
Areas of current emphasis and research include:
- Assessments of ventilation system performance and building codes, e.g., California Green Building Standards
- Studies on environmental conditions in schools as well as promotion of enhanced classroom IAQ
- Establishment of testing methods and health-based emission limits for volatile organic chemicals that are released from building materials and construction products
- IAQ lead on stakeholder groups and advisory panels to reduce exposures to airborne chemicals in indoor environments, for example, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools and Green Seal Standards
- Associations between indoor exposures and asthma and other respiratory health outcomes
- Guidance on prevention and remediation of indoor mold and other asthma triggers related to moisture problems
- Evaluation and prevention of building-related illnesses (for example, legionellosis and tuberculosis), including health risks in commercial aircraft cabins.
- California State Government
- Department of Public Health
- Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion
- Division of Environmental & Occupational Disease Control
- Environmental Health Laboratory Branch
- Indoor Air Quality Section