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Exposure to air pollutants can have both acute and chronic health effects, from mild to severe, and whether pollutants are perceived by occupants or not.

The likelihood and severity of effects occurring depend on age, any pre-existing medical conditions and individual sensitivity. The effects also include temporary discomfort and annoyance (or pleasure) from odours and negative impacts from some pollutants on cognitive performance. Indoor air quality is to a large extent dependent on outdoor air pollution; in addition, the indoor environment contains many sources of air pollutants from building materials, consumer products, occupants and their activities.
The CIBSE Air Quality Task Group has been set up to use engineering skills to support the pursuit of healthy air in the built environment.