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Changes in building design, construction, and operation during recent years have increased biological contamination of indoor air. The health risks versus the economic costs of controlling microorganisms in the indoor environment are discussed. The indoor air quality impacts of energy conservation and new features of construction are reviewed with reference to biological contaminants. Some potentially effective control measures and further research needs are identified. Potential litigation consideration are presented. Microbial contamination is discussed in the overall context of indoor environmental quality. Finally, the concept of “building ecology” is presented as a comprehensive approach to understanding the inter-relationships between building environments, building occupants, and the larger environment.
biological contaminants, microorganisms, indoor air quality, construction, building ecology
research architect, Hal Levin & Associates, Santa Cruz, CA