Indoor and Noise Pollution Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1713 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

¶ … Control of Indoor and Noise Pollution

Noise pollution and indoor air pollution can come from a variety of sources, and can affect people in a variety of ways. The purpose of this paper is to determine the sources, impact and control of indoor and noise pollution. The method being used is a literature review. As Salwen (1996) explains, "A literature review often becomes a study in itself....A literature review can organize studies alongside one another and explore differences among them. This becomes more possible as the literature review proceeds and focuses on details of those findings most relevant to your theorizing" (pp. 28-29). Therefore this seemed to be the most appropriate method considering the nature of this study.


Indoor Pollution

A significant amount of attention has recently been paid to indoor air pollution in working environments -- particularly office buildings. This is because poor quality air inside an office building can increase employee absenteeism both because of habitual illness and the desire to avoid an unpleasant working environment.

Most office buildings today use modern air conditioning systems to keep employees comfortable and happy. However, in order to save money and energy, these systems tend to re-circulate the air which can cause certain harmful substances to become concentrated in the air, which can in turn, cause illnesses such as headaches, coughing, nausea and other more serious problems. In extreme cases, it can even lead to death (Pope et al., 1995)

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All buildings only enclose a limited amount of air. Without sufficient ventilation, the quality of that air is apt to decline. Air quality can be worsened by two different classes of contaminants: organic and inorganic. Inorganic contaminants include carbon monoxide; carbon dioxide and ozone, for example. The second category, organic contaminants include hydrocarbons like formaldehyde as well as living organisms like fungi, bacteria, and dust mites (Daisey, Angell & Apte, 2003).

Term Paper on Indoor and Noise Pollution Assignment

There are many different sources of indoor air pollution. Many come into the building from the outside, especially in industrial and urban areas. Pollutants from cars, factories and all of the other things that cause outdoor pollution can all find their way inside a building and get re-circulated. Even the building itself can be a source of pollution in terms of mold, fungi, asbestos or other harmful materials. The things inside the building can cause problems as well -- office machines, appliances, and cleaning chemicals are just a few of the items that can cause indoor air pollution. Furthermore, according to Blondeau et al. (2003) "Recent studies have shown that surface and gaseous contaminant interactions may play an important role in indoor air quality. Modeling is an important tool to improve our knowledge about the phenomena involved and define appropriate ventilation strategies. However, data for sorption isotherms and diffusion in building materials remain woefully lacking" (p. 310). Lastly, people themselves can be sources of pollution -- either by the products they emit naturally such as water vapor, carbon dioxide and skin cells, or by unnatural means, such as tobacco smoke.

Of course, indoor pollution is not limited to office buildings -- it occurs inside any type of building including the home. Children are especially vulnerable to Indoor air pollution. According to Palfrey (1994) " the agents placing children at risk are tobacco smoke, nitrogen dioxide (generally from gas stoves and ovens), carbon monoxide (from gas stoves and automobiles), wood smoke, biologic agents (including bacteria, viruses, fungal spores, algae, amoebae, animal dander, and arthropod droppings and fragments), formaldehyde (from insulation materials as well as many common household products and tobacco smoke), and radon (a uranium by-product found particularly in homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York)" (p. 26). These are essentially the same pollutants that are risk factors for adults, however children are likely to suffer more dangerous health problems from these sources because of their limited immunity and incomplete development.

In regard to the control of indoor air pollution, there are several options. The most important is to have proper ventilation (Daisey, Angell & Apte, 2003). Without proper ventilation, contaminants will continue to grow and breed and cause numerous health problems. It is also important to take positive action to avoid people willingly contaminating the air, such as making smokers go smoke outside instead of inside the building where their habit has an impact on everybody else. Most states no longer allow smoking indoors for this very reason. Finally, purchasing environmentally friendly products that are chemical-free and do not harm the ozone is an essential way of controlling indoor air pollution.

Noise Pollution

The most basic definition of noise is unwelcome sound. Noise pollution occurs when these unwelcome sounds reach extreme levels and actually interfere with people's well-being. According to Overmeire, Verbandt and Jonckheere (1999) "Considerations in environmental noise assessment may be divided into two categories: those relating to the noise source and those relating to potential receivers. For example, in describing the noise impact characteristics of a source, whether it be road traffic, aircraft, or a stationary source, it is necessary to have a physical description of the sound itself, a description of how the volume varies with time, when the noise occurs and the location of the noise source. The noise environment in which the receiver will be situated must then be assessed and a judgment must be made on the effects of the noise as it relates to sleep disturbance and interference with speech communication, or other human activities. A judgment must then be made as to whether such noise levels are acceptable. All environmental noise problems contain these basic elements" (p. 96).

The control of noise pollution is primarily centered on how it affects human health and ways to reverse the negative impact of those effects. Noise pollution affects different people in different ways but the chief impact is rooted hearing difficulties or even a complete loss of hearing. According to Overmeire, Verbandt and Jonckheere (1999) "Noise management should not be restricted to determining whether the sound pressure level is lower than the applicable threshold value. An integrated approach should be adopted, so that the impact of noise is considered in the design of a factory or highway and in site development. The emission, transmission and immission of noise should be kept in mind at all times by designers, operators and public authorities. In industrial occupational situations, once operations have begun, a safety program should be followed in order to ensure the rapid detection of any hearing problems and their causes" (p. 109).


The method for this study is a literature review. According to Fink (1998), there is a sense in which a literature review is like a survey. The survey researcher must decide on the appropriate population and on the methods to be used to obtain a representative sample from that population. Similarly, the literature researcher must decide on the population of literature to be reviewed and on criteria for including or excluding particular articles or books.

The literature review plays a vital role in any research endeavor. Since the literature review is so important, it is useful to explore what Fink (1998) describes as the primary values and functions of literature reviews:

A literature review broadens and refines existing knowledge.

A literature review helps to sharpen and clarify research questions.

A literature review can highlight gaps and under-researched areas.

A literature review helps clarify theoretical, methodological and analytical issues.

A literature review will identify current debates and controversies.

A literature review may have its own intrinsic merits (Fink, 1998).

Wilkinson (1999) states that when a researcher interprets the results of a literature review he or she must think about whether the results are valid, in relation to the results of previous studies and theories. Wilkinson further suggests that "Novice researchers err either by over-generalizing their results or, equally unfortunately, over-particularizing. Explicitly compare the effects detected in your inquiry with the effect sizes reported in related previous studies (p. 602).

Because there was no cause and effect variable being studied, but instead, just a straightforward exploration of the sources, impact and control of indoor and noise pollution, a literature review seemed like the best method. While there is no original data in terms of an original experiment due to academic limitations, the synthesis and analysis of the data is entirely original.


The results of this study have shown that there are a variety of sources of indoor air pollution and noise pollution, each of which affect different people in different ways. The main causes of indoor air pollution are poor ventilation, indoor fixtures including office machines and cleaning supplies, and purposeful pollution such as tobacco smoke. The main causes of noise pollution are machinery, traffic, airplanes, and music. The factors that influence how people react to noise pollution can be seen below:


This literature review has examined what causes indoor and noise pollution, what the effects of these contaminants are, and what measures can be taken to improve the situation. I recommend that more studies be done… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Indoor and Noise Pollution" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Indoor and Noise Pollution.  (2010, June 20).  Retrieved February 28, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Indoor and Noise Pollution."  20 June 2010.  Web.  28 February 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Indoor and Noise Pollution."  June 20, 2010.  Accessed February 28, 2021.