Indoor air pollution and health (IAPAH)

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Resource or Project Abstract

The objective of the Indoor Air Pollution and Health (IAPAH) research project was to, quantify the levels of Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) in Irish and Scottish homes where open combustion takes place, and provide an estimate of the potential health burden due to exposure to combustion derived air pollution in the home. IAP concentrations were measured in 100 homes in Ireland and Scotland. Open combustion was defined as the use of the solid fuels; coal, wood, peat, for heating, gas for cooking or the presence of tobacco smoking. Twenty four hour data on airborne concentrations of particulate matter smaller than 2.5µm (PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and endotoxin, together with 2-3 week averaged concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were collected. Concentrations of IAP in homes using coal, wood, peat and gas for cooking were low, and mostly well within health based standards, suggesting adequate ventilation, and well maintained combustion systems in the participating homes. PM2.5 concentrations in homes using coal, wood and gas cooking using homes were comparable to outdoor ambient concentrations. Peat burning homes had PM2.5 concentrations approximately twice that of ambient air, whereas smoker homes had PM2.5 concentrations greater than ten times the level measured in coal, wood and gas cooking homes. The average 24-hour PM2.5 concentrations in smoker homes are the main cause for concern in terms of IAP from combustion sources in the home.
Results from the health impact assessment indicate that exposure to ETS represents the greatest impact on health from combustion derived air pollution in the home. Both the source based approach and the pollutant based approach estimate cardiovascular events as the greatest health burden among adults and lower respiratory illness and respiratory symptoms among children who are exposed to ETS at home. Health burden estimates, calculated using the pollutant based approach are higher than those calculated using the source based approach.
The exposure of non-smokers to ETS in the home accounts for a health burden that is broadly comparable to that currently experienced in both countries from road traffic accidents and there is a real need for public health policy and research professionals to develop interventions to address this. We recommend that co-ordinated national campaigns to educate smokers and non-smokers about the health effects of ETS exposure in the home should be developed together with intervention tools to reduce smoking initiation and increase quitting. Research to identify methods that help those who continue to smoke to implement smoke-free homes is also required. In order to be able to evaluate future progress in reducing non-smokers? exposure to ETS there is a need to have a question to determine population-wide exposure to ETS at home incorporated in existing national health survey campaigns in both countries.

All appendices for this report are available here for download in PDF format.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Marie Coggins
National University of Ireland Galway

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_104_Coggins_IndoorAir_prn.pdf  (2.21 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_104_Coggins_IndoorAir_web.pdf  (0.6 Mb)
Att 3    Indoor_Air_Pollution_and_Health_(IAPAH)_final_report.doc   (0.53 Mb)
Att 4    Indoor_Air_Pollution_and_Health_(IAPAH_Appendix_1.pdf   (0.41 Mb)
Att 5    Indoor_Air_Pollution_and_Health_(IAPAH)_Appendix_2.pdf   (0.69 Mb)
Att 6    Indoor_Air_Pollution_and_Health_(IAPAH)_Appendix_3.pdf   (0.49 Mb)
Att 7    Indoor_Air_Pollution_and_Health_(IAPAH)_Appendix_4.pdf   (0.26 Mb)
Att 8    DATA_FILE_2008-EH-MS-8-S3.xls   (0.06 Mb)

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Author(s)Coggins, M.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationIndoor air pollution and health (IAPAH)
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifier6feeb2e3-fc2c-11e1-add7-005056ae0019
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-06-25

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Coggins, M.   "Indoor air pollution and health (IAPAH)". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-06-25)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsIndoor air pollution
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2008-EH-MS-8-S3
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeNot Applicable
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceThe reliability, quality and completeness of data gained through SAFER-Data is intended to be used in an education or research context. These data are not guaranteed for use in operational or decision-making settings. The EPA and SAFER-Data requests an acknowledgement (in publications, conference papers, etc) from those who use data/information received with SAFER-Data. This acknowledgement should state the original creators of the data/information. An automated citation is provided below. It is not ethical to publish data/information without proper attribution or co-authorship. The data/information are the intellectual property of the collecting investigator(s). The data/information may be freely downloaded and used by all who respect the restrictions and requirements in the previous paragraphs.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 8
Project Start Date Monday 1st December 2008 (01-12-2008)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 30th September 2009 (30-09-2009)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 31st March 2010 (31-03-2010)
Published on SAFERTuesday 11th September 2012 (11-09-2012)
Date of Last EditFriday 12th July 2013 at 15:42:08 (12-07-2013)
Datasets or Files Updated On Friday 12th July 2013 at 15:42:08 (12-07-2013)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
Recruitment of households took place between October 2009 and March 2010 during the winter period when fuel use would be at a peak and when ventilation levels tend to be minimised. The study was publicised via the local press in Aberdeen, Scotland and Galway, Ireland together with a website ( Other participants were recruited via word of mouth and snowballing techniques utilizing those already recruited to the study. Our aim was to recruit 20 households that used peat as heating fuel, 20 households that used coal, 20 that used wood, 20 that used a gas stove to cook and 20 that had at least 1 adult resident smoker (with no other combustion source present e.g. electricity used for heating purposes). Households were to be recruited in and around the city of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in North-east Scotland and in and around Galway city in the West-coast of Ireland. Potential participants who expressed an interest in the study were screened for eligibility using a telephone questionnaire which asked questions about solid fuel use and smoking by residents in the home. Households were excluded if they reported burning more than one type of solid fuel/tobacco source within the home.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
There were two elements to this project; the first involved measuring indoor air pollutant levels in a number of homes in Ireland and Scotland. The second involving estimating the number of people exposed to different sources and concentrations of key indoor air pollutants and use these data to generate an estimate of the size of health burden that is attributable to air pollution within homes.
The complex relationship between human health and IAQ has been prioritized as an area requiring further research by bothjthe European Commission and by the World Health Organisation In 2007 the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks ( within theEuropean Commission) identified a number of gaps in the scientific knowledge needed to provide a basis for a health based risk assessment strategy on indoor air quality (IAQ). Many of the gaps relate to the lack of specific information on source pollutant concentrations, exposure patterns and health effects of specific indoor air pollutants. There is no established methodology for Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of pollution from indoor sources.
Supplementary Information
We have one project publication (September 2012) and a second publication in review. the citation for the published work is, Semple S., Garden C., Coggins M., Galea K.S, Whelan P., Cowie H., Sánchez-Jiménez A., Thorne P.S., Hurley J.F., Ayres J.G. (2012) Contribution of solid fuel, gas combustion, or tobacco smoke to indoor air pollutant concentrations in Irish and Scottish homes. Indoor Air . 3:212-223

We wish to thank the input from the project advisory committee: Dr Maurice Mulcahy, Health Service Executive West, Ireland; Dr Miriam Byrne, National University of Ireland, Galway; Prof. Bob Maynard, Health Protection Agency, UK; Prof Luke Clancy, Tobacco free Research Institute, Ireland; Prof Sally Haw, University of Stirling, Scotland; and Sandra Kavanagh, EPA, Ireland. We would also like to thank Prof Peter Thorne, Director, Environmental Health, Pulmonary Toxicology Facility at the University of Iowa, USA, for analysis of the collected endotoxin samples.

parameters mesaured

"24 Hr avg PM2.5 (ug/m3), CO (ppm), CO2 (ppm), RH (%), Temperature(C), endotoxin (EU/M3).
No Geographical features modelled,
sampling methodology
Sampling instruments were placed in the main living area of each participating home and generally located in close proximity to each other at a height of about 1.0-1.5m. Where possible, devices were placed at a distance of at least 1.0m from windows, doors and the heating/cooking source under study. A total of five IAPs were measured - PM2.5, airborne endotoxin within the total inhalable dust fraction, CO, CO2 and NO2. The sampling was performed between 1st October 2009 and 31st March 2010, with a small number of NO2 tubes collected into April 2010.
TSI SidePak AM510 Personal Aerosol Monitors (TSI Inc., Shoreview, MN, USA) fitted with a PM2.5 impactor were used to collect and log real-time data in g/m3 on airborne PM2.5 levels over a 24-hour period. A correction factor for combustion-generated PM2.5 of 0.3 was applied to the data derived from the Sidepak device (Repace, 2006). Telaire® 7001i Data loggers (Edinburgh Instruments Ltd, Livingston, UK) were used to log CO2 levels in ppm with a data logging kit (H08-007-02 Hobo data logger Onset Computer Corporation, Bourne, MA, USA). Assessment of airborne endotoxin was carried out using total inhalable dust sampling following the UK Health and Safety Executive?s ?Methods for the Determination of Hazardous Substances? 14/3 (HSE, 2000). After sampling and appropriate storage at 4oC the filters were transported to the Pulmonary Toxicology Facility at the University of Iowa, USA for analysis using the kinetic chromogenic modification of the Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL) assay. Average indoor NO2 levels were measured over a period of 2-3 weeks using passive diffusion tubes (Gradko International, Winchester, UK). A single sample tube was placed in the main living area of each home away from windows and doors, at 1-1.5 metre height. Tubes were analysed at the Gradko International laboratory (Winchester, England). CO levels were measured and logged every minute over a 24-hour period using Lascar Easylogger EL-USB-CO (Lascar Electronics Ltd, Wiltshire, UK) data loggers.
A sampling box, large enough to accommodate the Sidepak and SKC pump, was constructed from cardboard/wood and padded with insulating material to minimise noise disturbance. The fitted lid was similarly padded. Two holes were cut in the front panel of the box to allow access for the power cables and Tygon tubing. The Sidepak and SKC pump were connected to mains electricity in each home to enable operation for at least 24 hours of sampling.

The full team involved in this project are as follows:

Marie A. Coggins1, Sean Semple2, Fintan Hurley3, Amy Shafrir3, Karen S. Galea3, Hilary Cowie3, Araceli Sanchez-Jimenez3, Carole Garden2, Paul Whelan1, Jon G. Ayres4
1. National University of Ireland, Galway, 2. University of Aberdeen, 3.Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), 4. University of Birmingham,
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