Particulate matter and health effects in offices - A review

Ioannis Nezis, George Biskos, Kostas Eleftheriadis, Olga Ioanna Kalantzi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


As a growing percentage of the population is working in office buildings worldwide, air quality in these indoor environments is becoming of particular importance for assessing health impacts from exposure to different pollutants. Apart from the common indoor air pollution sources, the presence of a variety of electronics such as printers, copier machines and other equipment in office buildings may present a high health risk because of their emissions of gases and particles. The aim of this study is to review and compare available measurements of the most commonly reported indoor particulate matter (PM) fractions in office environments and the methodological approaches that were used for the assessment of air quality and associated health effects. Data from forty-nine studies conducted in twenty-four countries around the world were included in this review. Half of these studies report measurements of indoor air pollution concentrations at a fixed point, with half of those using portable devices for assessing the personal exposure of employees in a direct way. The results showed that indoor concentrations for all air pollutants were higher than those measured outdoors, and that they increased during working hours. The average PM levels in offices ranged from 14 to 333 μg/m 3 for particles having diameters up to 10 μm (PM 10 ), and 4–227.44 μg/m 3 for particles having diameters up to 2.5 μm (PM 2.5 ). Results also showed that many health effects like eye irritation, dry throat, runny nose, sneezing, cough, tiredness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, headache, dizziness, and skin irritation reported through questionnaires by employees were associated with these pollutants, while being influenced by gender and environmental factors such as temperature and relative humidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-73
Number of pages12
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Environmental monitoring
  • Health effects
  • Indoor air quality
  • Particulate matter
  • Personal measurements

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