Animal Tests to Determine the Health Risks of Indoor Air Pollutants
Public awareness of the importance of air quality in general, and of indoor air in particular, has grown over the past few decades. Sick building syndrome was an early indicator of this awareness, but harmful chemicals are still used in the manufacture of building materials, furniture, carpets, and other items used daily. Since people spend a significant amount of time indoors, extensive attention is being paid to health problems caused by indoor air pollutants. By examining changes in biomarker levels after an animal is exposed to indoor air pollutants, animal tests have been shown to be an effective way to evaluate health impacts, and to understand the underlying toxicological mechanisms, before examining the impacts on people. In this chapter, we discuss the fundamental principles of animal testing and describe the latest progress in the study of health impacts of indoor air pollutants. We review a number of experiments where laboratory animals are exposed to certain environmental pollutants and present their findings. Detailed descriptions of the toxicity mechanisms and the corresponding intervention measures are given, and strategies for the prevention and treatment of related diseases caused by indoor pollutants are also outlined.