Ventilation and health in non-industrial indoor environments: report from a European Multidisciplinary Scientific Consensus Meeting (EUROVEN)

Pawel Wargocki, Jan Sundell, W. Bischof, G. Brundrett, Povl Ole Fanger, F. Gyntelberg, S. O. Hanssen, P. Harrison, A. Pickering, O. Seppänen, P. Wouters

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Scientific literature on the effects of ventilation on health, comfort, and productivity in non-industrial indoor environments (offices, schools, homes, etc.) has been reviewed by a multidisciplinary group of European scientists, called EUROVEN, with expertise in medicine, epidemiology, toxicology, and engineering. The group reviewed 105 papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and judged 30 as conclusive, providing sufficient information on ventilation, health effects, data processing, and reporting, 14 as providing relevant background information on the issue, 43 as relevant but non-informative or inconclusive, and 18 as irrelevant for the issue discussed. Based on the data in papers judged conclusive, the group agreed that ventilation is strongly associated with comfort (perceived air quality) and health (Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) symptoms, inflammation, infections, asthma, allergy, short-term sick leave), and that an association between ventilation and productivity (performance of office work) is indicated. The group also concluded that increasing outdoor air supply rates in non-industrial environments improves perceived air quality; that outdoor air supply rates below 25 l/s per person increase the risk of SBS symptoms, increase short-term sick leave, and decrease productivity among occupants of office buildings; and that ventilation rates above 0.5 air changes per hour (h-1) in homes reduce infestation of house dust mites in Nordic countries. The group concluded additionally that the literature indicates that in buildings with air-conditioning systems there may be an increased risk of SBS symptoms compared with naturally or mechanically ventilated buildings, and that improper maintenance, design, and functioning of air-conditioning systems contributes to increased prevalence of SBS symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndoor Air
VolumeVol. 12
Pages (from-to)pp. 113-128
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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