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Safety and Security

Indoor air quality

Health risks of poor air quality

Exposure to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been shown to have a number of potential health effects, but in general, the health risks are considered to be low and tend to resolve when the individual is removed from the air of poor air quality.

The potential for adverse health effects varies from person to person and depends on the level and duration of exposure, however general symptoms of overexposure include:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Worsening of allergies and increased mucous production
  • Shortness of breath or chest tightness
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Nausea

Risk management and monitoring

Health Canada and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have established air quality and comfort parameters for indoor (non-industrial) environments. These standards are used as best practices throughout the industry and have therefore been adopted by UFV. Good IAQ will include air that:

  • is free from unacceptable levels of contaminants, such as chemicals and related products, gases, vapours, dusts, moulds, fungi, bacteria, odours, etc.
  • provides a comfortable indoor environment including temperature, humidity, air circulation, sufficient outdoor air intake, etc.

UFV Campus Planning and Facilities Management (CPFM) monitors air quality conditions regularly and is responsible for maintaining safe indoor air conditions. If you have any concerns, report the issues to your supervisor, UFV Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) and CPFM as indicated below.

Key contacts:

Who to contact 
Issue Department Contact


  • Temperature and humidity levels
  • Ventilation (lack of air flow, too much air flow)
Facilities Services Submit a Work Request 


  • Known odours (sewage, natural gas, pain, burning smell, etc.)
  • Exhaust odours
  • Construction dust
  • Roofing or construction odours
Facilities Services

Submit a Work Request 

Other issues:

  • Unknown odours
  • Chemical odours
  • Symptoms or illness associated with office environment
Environmental Health & Safety

Submit an IAQ Referral Form 

Odours from smoking

Campus Security

1-855-239-7654 (7654)


Mitigation - office and home

How to reduce impacts of poor air quality:

  1. Know the signs and symptoms of overexposure.
  2. Watch out for symptoms in yourself and others.
  3. Avoid exposure if you have a pre-existing or chronic respiratory or cardiovascular condition.
  4. Know how your workplace deals with air quality.
  5. Report any safety concerns to your supervisor. 


More information

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety - Indoor air quality

Healthlink BC - Indoor air quality

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