What Are The World Health Organization Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality?

In your home, you want to maintain a healthy and safe environment for your family. However, some everyday pollutants can cause health issues. While you do your best to keep the air clean, you still might need help from a professional company to find the contaminants. For those wanting to maintain a healthy level for their air quality, you can follow some well-established standards. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued its own guidelines to help keep indoor air quality healthy for everyone.

Indoor Air Quality Is Important

Have you ever walked into a building and started to sneeze or cough? The poor air quality might cause those reactions in the building. Without clean and healthy air, your body will begin to feel the side effects of some pollutants. For those with allergies or asthma, poor air can trigger some irritating symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. These pollutants are much more harmful than a few dust bunnies in the air. In the most extreme cases, the contaminants can cause cancer, heart disease, or lung problems for those exposed to them over a period of time. You don’t have to be living near a manufacturing facility to experience poor air quality. There are many everyday household products, like mothballs to toilet bowl cleaners, that could be harmful to your health. If you are concerned about the air quality in your O’Fallon home, make sure to schedule an indoor air quality (IAQ) test with Hoff Heating & AC.

The WHO’s Indoor Air Quality Guidelines

A few years ago, the WHO issued guidelines to identify hazardous organic and inorganic substances in the air. Some of these pollutants are known to cause health problems. For that reason, the WHO released its indoor air quality standards to maintain a healthy home or business. The guidelines identify three groups of contaminants found inside a building, including pollutants from indoor fuel combustion, indoor biological pollutants, and pollutants from chemicals.

All these substances can impact the environment and an individual’s health. If you want to keep a healthy home or business, then you need to keep track of these substances. With an indoor air monitor, you can check the air quality in your home to ensure it is at a safe level. For those who want to make sure there are no other contaminants in the air, you might want to schedule an indoor air quality test for your home or business.

Indoor Pollutant Threshold Limits

You might think that the air in your building is healthy, but there are several ways that pollutants can cause trouble for your home or office. Some of these contaminants can originate from nature or come in the form of a chemical compound. The World Health Organization has outlined eight different pollutants that you should monitor to maintain your indoor air’s health.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Many people install a carbon monoxide detector in their homes. The effects of this gas are well-known, but it can be easily detected with a monitor. Carbon monoxide is known to create problems in the lungs and heart. If left undetected, this odorless and colorless gas can cause death. For those with an air quality monitor, you want the CO levels to stay below 35 ppm. Any issues with high levels of CO need to be corrected immediately. You will want to contact a professional company to find the source of the leak and resolve it for you.


If you use some common household products in your home or office, you might be exposed to naphthalene. This chemical often has a strong odor, and it is made with a by-product of coal tar. You can find naphthalene in toilet deodorant blocks, insecticides, and mothballs. While it is safe at certain levels, you never want naphthalene to exceed an air quality threshold of 10 ppm.


Formaldehyde is another type of strong-smelling gas, and it is used in many household products and building materials. Glues, pressed-woods, and other adhesives all contain some level of formaldehyde. If you have high levels in your home, you might even experience eye and lung irritation. The WHO recommends that you limit formaldehyde to a level between 0.1 and 0.3 ppm.

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

You can find nitrogen dioxide in lawn fertilizers. These chemical compounds are known to cause breathing issues for those with asthma or other respiratory diseases. Healthy people can also feel the effects of nitrogen dioxide when exposed to high levels of the chemical. According to the WHO, nitrogen dioxide should not exceed a threshold limit value of 3 ppm.


Benzene is another chemical found in common household products. Gasoline, paint thinners, detergents, and paint all contain benzene. Benzene is also a well-known carcinogen. For that reason, you will want to limit your exposure to it and keep the threshold value to 0.1 ppm.

Tetra- and Trichloroethylene

Trichloroethylene is found in industrial solvents, and it produces a swell smell. Tetrachloroethylene is another chemical compound that is used in dry cleaning products. When exposed to high levels of these chemicals, you can develop respiratory issues or cancer. The WHO recommends that you keep these chemical air levels between 25 and 100 ppm.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Many manufacturing industries produce these harmful pollutants, especially in aluminum, steel iron, and tar production. However, you can still be exposed to it at your work or home with an asphalt application. The WHO doesn’t have set guidelines on these pollutants since it will depend on the specific chemicals.


Like carbon monoxide, radon is another deadly gas that needs to be monitored. If you have an older building, you need to have the air levels tested in your home or office. When uranium breaks down in the rocks, soil, and water around your property, there can be a deadly release of this radioactive gas. Since radon is dangerous at any level, the WHO did not release a safe air quality threshold for this gas.

Improve Your Air Quality

Once you have checked your home or business for harmful chemicals, there are a few things that you can do to help improve air quality. You will want to make sure all your buildings have proper airflow to ensure clean air. These measures can help to prevent the development of organic pollutants such as mold and bacteria. If you are worried about your indoor air quality in O’Fallon, you will want to schedule an indoor air test with Hoff Heating & AC.

We Can Keep Your Air Healthy

Hoff Heating & AC offers heating and cooling solutions for your O’Fallon, MO, home. We have over three decades of hands-on experience, and you can trust our team of NATE-certified technicians. Our professionals can help to diagnose, maintain, and install all of your heating and cooling products, including heat pumps and air quality equipment. We are a Lennox Premier Dealer, and our company holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. When you need reliable and efficient service for your O’Fallon home, don’t hesitate to call Hoff Heating & AC!