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Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality Program (IAQ)

IAQ refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. These areas have ventilation from openable windows or mechanical ventilation from heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Although the most common causes of air quality complaints are due to the mechanical failures of HVAC systems, understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.  

CSUSB endeavors to protect and improve human health and air quality for everyone attending, working and living near CSUSB. The EHS office will assist faculty, staff, and students with designing facilities and obtaining equipment that meets requirements of South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and California Air Resources Board (CARB). 

What is important to control indoor air quality? 

  • Identification 

  • Awareness of Criteria Air Pollutants 

  • Control of sources 

  • Filtration and ventilation 

Nuisance Odors 

Smells and odors not associated with any health effects. Most moderate odors typically dissipate within 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on air changes per hour in the building. Nuisance odors including but not limited to things such as: 

  • Burning food 

  • Perfumes 

Please contact the CSUSB Facilities Service Center at (909)537-5175 to request to address the area. 

Non-nuisance Odors

Characterized by odors that cause health-related issues such as:  

  • Burning eyes 

  • Burning nasal passages 

  • Burning/scratchy throat  

  • General eye, nasal, & throat irritation 

These can also cause discomfort and other health-related symptoms. EHS should be contacted to address these concerns. 

 Who to contact?

In case of a complaint regarding the IAQ in a work environment, the EHS will respond and do an evaluation of the concern to see if there is an immediate emergency or an evacuation is needed. If it is not an emergency and the issue is related to thermal comfort, water intrusion, mold or natural gas odors contact CSUSB facilities. If you have an IAQ concern use the table below to identify the right department to contact to address your concern. If you are unsure of the problem, contact EH&S for assistance.  

Who to Contact (Emergency)


Responsible Party 


  • Visible smoke 

  • Strong odor 

  • Hazardous material 

 Fire Department 

 Dial 9-1-1  

Who to Contact (Non-Emergency)
Issue Responsible Party  Contact
  • Hazardous material 

  • Minor spill cleanup 

CSUSB Environmental Health & Safety (909) 537-5179 
  • Temperature, humidity 

  • Light noise 

  • Lack of air ("stuffy") 

  • Too much air ("drafty") 

  • Known odors 

  • Sewer, natural gas, paint, burning smell

  • Visible mold 

CSUSB Facilities Service Center (909) 537-5175 
  • Exhaust odors 

  • Construction dust 

  • Roofing or construction odors 

CSUSB Facilities Service Center  


CSUSB Planning, Design and Construction 

(909) 537-5175 



(909) 537-5136 

  • Unknown odors 

  • Chemical odors 

  • Symptoms of illness associated with the office environment

CSUSB Environmental Health & Safety (909) 537-5179  


Indoor Air Pollutants:  Ozone VOC's Particulates Bioaerosols Perchloroethylene and other VOC's Particulates, Ozone

Indoor Air Pollutants:

  • Ozone
  • VOC's
  • Particulates Bioaerosols
  • Perchloroethylene and other VOC's
  • Particulates, Ozone

Examples of indoor air pollutants: 

  • Cigarette smoke  

  • Formaldehyde 

  • Radon 

  • Wood smoke 

  • Pesticide 

  • Carbon monoxide 

  • Mold odors 

  • Natural gas odor 

  • Odor from pest 

  • Sewer gas odor 

  • Food odors 

  • Cleaning Chemicals odors 

Mold spores get into your nose and can cause allergy symptoms.  They can also get into your lungs and trigger asthma.

Mold spores get into your nose and can cause allergy symptoms.  They can also get into your lungs and trigger asthma.

Construction activities 

Common Symptoms 

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat 
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue 


Symptoms can often be mistaken for another illness, but the usual clue is that people feel ill while inside the building, and the symptoms go away shortly after leaving the building, or when away from the building for a period of time. 

Criteria Pollutants & Health Effects 

Critera Pollutants & Health Effects - Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Particulate Matter, Sulfur Dioxide

The EPA regulates 6 common pollutants as Criteria Pollutants: Carbon Monoxide, Particulate Matter, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, and Ozone. These pollutants are regulated according to a human health-based and/or environmentally-based criteria for setting permissible levels. California’s most common air pollutants are  

Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Matter, and Sulfur Dioxide.  

Criteria Pollutants Effects  

6 Criteria Pollutants

Make Your Safety A Priority

  1. Carbon Monoxide (CO)
    • Produced from incomplete combustion, results from insufficient amounts of oxygen to oxidize all carbon in fuel.
    • Can occur during high loading and rapid vehicle acceleration
  2. LEAD (PB)
    • Tetratyle Lead (TEL) was added to the fuel mixture and used by earlier model cars.  The purpose of the tetraethyl lead additive was to reduce engine knocking, boost octane ratings, reduce wear and tear on valve seats, and improve performance.
    • Phase out starting in the 1970s and banned in 1995 to be used as a fuel additive.
  3. Nitrogen Oxides (NO2)
    • Produce from high temperature combustion and lightning.
    • React with peroxy radicals and contribute to tropospheric ozone formation.
  4. Ozone (O3)
    • Precursors of ozone in the troposphere are NOX, CO, and VOCs.
    • Irritates upper respiratory system and aggravates asthma symptoms
    • May cause an increase in premature deaths.
  5. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
    • Produce from coal power plans, industrial chemical processes and vehicle emissions.
    • Produced by fuel combustion (gasoline and diesel) and burning of engine lube oil.
    • Inhalation causes irritation to the respiratory system, difficulty in breathing, and premature death.
    • Precursor to sulfuric acid.
  6. Particulate Matter (PM)
    • Coarse particles have diameter greater than 2.5 and less than 3.0
    • Fine particles may have diameter less than 2.5
    • Ultrafine particles have diameter less and 100mm.
    • Health effects:
      • The smaller particles have deeper deposition inside respiratory system.
      • Increase asthma attack and respiratory disease.
      • Cardiovascular disease
      • Can has deposition of carcinogenic substances on the surface.
Standards and Exposure Limits for Criteria Air Pollutants 




Secondary pollutant 

Average Exposure Time 

Exposure Level 


Carbon Monoxide (CO) 


8 hours 

9 ppm 

Not to be exceeded more than once per year 

1 hour 

35 ppm 

Lead (Pb) 

Primary and 


Rolling 3 month average 

0.15 μg/m3  

Not to be exceeded 

Nitrogen Dioxide (



1 hour 

100 ppb 

98th percentile of 1-hour daily maximum concentrations averaged over 3 years 

Primary and 


1 year 

53 ppb  

Annual Mean 

Ozone (


Primary and 


8 hours 

0.070 ppm 

Annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour concentration averaged over 3 years 

Particle Pollution (PM) 


PM 2.5 (Particles of  2.5 microns and below) 


PM 10 (Particles of 10 microns and below) 



1 year 

12.0 μg/m3 

annual mean, averaged over 3 years 


1 year 

15.0 μg/m3 

annual mean, averaged over 3 years 

Primary and 


24 hours 

35 μg/m3 

98th percentile, averaged over 3 years 


Primary and 


24 hours 

150 μg/m3 

Not to be exceeded more than once per year on average over 3 years 

Sulfur Dioxide  




1 hour 

75 ppb  

99th percentile of 1-hour daily maximum concentrations averaged over 3 years 


3 hours 

0.5 ppm 

Not to be exceeded more than once per year 



Tips for Better Indoor Air Quality 

  • Do not block air vents or grilles 
  • Water and maintain office plants properly 
  • Dispose of garbage promptly and properly 
  • Store food properly 
  • Avoid bringing products into the building that could release harmful or bothersome odors or contaminants 
  • Notify the EHS immediately if you suspect an IAQ problem 

 Tips to Improve Air Quality

Tips to Improve Air Quality

  • Ventilate - Do not block air vents and use ventilation fans.
  • Housekeeping - Maintain a clean environment and dust regularly to prevent buildup of allergens and other pollutants.
  • Reduce Odors - Avoid bringing any products that could release harmful odors or contaminants.  Store food properly and dispose of garbage promptly.

Report IAQ Concern 

To Report an indoor air quality complaint please complete a Service Request Form 


Improve Indoor Air Quality

  • Ventilation
    • Required fresh air exchange rate to prevent buildup of air pollutants
  • Sanitation
    • Destroys airborne microbials (bacterial, virus, molds)
  • Odor/VOC Removal
    • Amount of Volatile Organic Compounds removed or oxidized