Outdoor air pollution continues to be widely reported in the media with concern in particular over diesel particulates. However, whether pollutants are accrued in a person from indoor or outdoor air pollution it has an impact on their health.
In indoor air we are regularly exposed to a variety of potentially hazardous chemicals. More than 90% of our pollutant exposures come from sources that are close to us, yet are largely unregulated and unmonitored.
The primary sources of exposure are our indoor environments (homes, workplaces, schools, public buildings, shops, transport, health care facilities and others) and the products and practices inside those environments: consumer products, building materials, furnishings and personal activities.
We live in a world in which man-made chemicals have become a part of everyday life.2
Close to 800 chemicals are known or suspected to be capable of interfering with hormone receptors, hormone synthesis or hormone conversion. However, only a small fraction of these chemicals have been investigated in tests capable of identifying overt endocrine effects in intact organisms. The vast majority of chemicals in current commercial use have not been tested at all.
Since 2002, a large number of chemicals other than Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) have been identified as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), and these include chemicals that have very different properties, sources and fates in the environment compared with POPs. EDCs are both man‐made and natural. Some are found in a large variety of materials, products, articles and goods. They may also be by-products formed during manufacturing or combustion of wastes. These chemicals are also subjected to biological and environmental transformations that may form other EDCs. EDCs are found among many classes of chemicals, including POPs, current-use pesticides, phytoestrogens, metals, active ingredients in pharmaceuticals, and additives or contaminants in food, personal care products, cosmetics, plastics, textiles and construction materials. Once released into the environment, the more persistent chemicals can be carried by air and water currents to remote locations, and many can be biomagnified through food webs to high levels in humans and other top predators. Other chemicals have shorter life spans in the environment but are regularly released in effluents, in agricultural runoff or from urban environments, resulting in high environmental levels near the sources