AMERICAN THORACIC SOCIETY DOCUMENTS Indoor Air Sources of Outdoor Air Pollution: Health Consequences, Policy, and Recommendations An Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report

Nicholas J. Nassikas, Meredith C. McCormack, Howard M. Kipen, John R. Balmes, Tami C. Bond, Emily M.D. Brigham, Kevin Cromar, Gary Ewart, Allen H. Goldstein, Anne Hicks, Philip K. Hopke, Brittany Meyer, William W. Nazaroff, Laura M. Paulin, Mary B. Rice, George D. Thurston, Barbara J. Turpin, Marina E. Vance, Charles J. Weschler, Junfeng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Indoor sources of air pollution worsen indoor and outdoor air quality. Thus, identifying and reducing indoor pollutant sources would decrease both indoor and outdoor air pollution, benefit public health, and help address the climate crisis. As outdoor sources come under regulatory control, unregulated indoor sources become a rising percentage of the problem. This American Thoracic Society workshop was convened in 2022 to evaluate this increasing proportion of indoor contributions to outdoor air quality. The workshop was conducted by physicians and scientists, including atmospheric and aerosol scientists, environmental engineers, toxicologists, epidemiologists, regulatory policy experts, and pediatric and adult pulmonologists. Presentations and discussion sessions were centered on 1) the generation and migration of pollutants from indoors to outdoors, 2) the sources and circumstances representing the greatest threat, and 3) effective remedies to reduce the health burden of indoor sources of air pollution. The scope of the workshop was residential and commercial sources of indoor air pollution in the United States. Topics included wood burning, natural gas, cooking, evaporative volatile organic compounds, source apportionment, and regulatory policy. The workshop concluded that indoor sources of air pollution are significant contributors to outdoor air quality and that source control and filtration are the most effective measures to reduce indoor contributions to outdoor air. Interventions should prioritize environmental justice: Households of lower socioeconomic status have higher concentrations of indoor air pollutants from both indoor and outdoor sources. We identify research priorities, potential health benefits, and mitigation actions to consider (e.g., switching from natural gas to electric stoves and transitioning to scent-free consumer products). The workshop committee emphasizes the benefits of combustion-free homes and businesses and recommends economic, legislative, and education strategies aimed at achieving this goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-376
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • cooking
  • indoor air pollution
  • natural gas
  • volatile organic compounds
  • wood burning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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