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Berkeley Lab Experts Talk Indoor Air
    This research was initiated with support from the California Energy Commission. Additional funding has been provided by the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    For decades, teams of Berkeley Lab scientists have investigated the ways that indoor air quality affects human health—from cognitive ability to personal comfort. Lab scientists were among the first to sound the alarm about sick buildings, including the health risks posed by radon, and also to offer solutions to make buildings healthier. They continue to identify and monitor other sources of indoor pollution–from cooking byproducts to thirdhand smoke, and to substantiate the health virtues and cost savings of energy-efficient ventilation, particularly in schools. Berkeley Lab experts have changed—and continue to change—the national thinking about what constitutes healthy building design and use.

    Recent News

    home air quality

    Select a story below to learn about the groundbreaking research by Berkeley Lab scientists as to how thirdhand tobacco smoke can produce dangerous carcinogens.

    May 2012

    Berkeley Lab study assesses residential cooking exhaust hoods' ability to vent pollutants

    Aug 2010

    Berkeley Study Shows Ozone and Nicotine A Bad Combination for Asthma

    Feb 2010

    Study Reveals Dangers of Nicotine in ThirdHand Smoke

    Workplace Air Quality

    For information about Berkeley Lab's research on indoor air in the workplace and the effects of unhealthy air on cognitive function, see the stories below.

    Oct 2012

    Elevated Indoor Carbon Dioxide Impairs Decision-Making Performance

    Oct 2011

    Increased Ventilation Rates in Office Buildings Can Bring Billions of Dollars in Savings


    Berkeley Lab has a long history of leading edge research on the public health risks and economic consequences of building dampness and mold.

    May 2007

    Berkeley Lab, EPA Studies Confirm Large Public Health and Economic Impact of Dampness and Mold

    Jul 2004

    When Mold Runs Amok

    Sick Buildings and Radon

    For several years indoor air researchers worked to develop an effective national program detailing how to effectively and reliably identify high-radon areas.

    Jul 2008

    Gauging the Quality of Indoor Air

    Contact Us
    This research was supported by the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the California Energy Commission, and the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.
    Tobacco smoke.
    Fine particles and gaseous pollutants from indoor cooking and other indoor combustion.
    Radon from soil surrounding building foundations.
    Formaldehyde from building materials.
    Ozone from outdoor air.
    Tobacco smoke from indoor smoking.
    Allergens and microbial agents that cause inflammation from dampness and mold.
    Allergens from house dust mites, pets, cockroach, rodents.
    Virus and bacteria from people.
    Moisture from indoor sources and outdoor air when it causes high indoor humidity.
    Moisture from indoor sources and outdoor air when it causes high indoor humidity.