Human beings experience a large fraction of their exposure to air pollutants in indoor environments. Air pollution is a large environmental health risk, and exposure to ambient air pollution and indoor air pollution contribute equally to the total number of fatalities worldwide. Although
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Human beings experience a large fraction of their exposure to air pollutants in indoor environments. Air pollution is a large environmental health risk, and exposure to ambient air pollution and indoor air pollution contribute equally to the total number of fatalities worldwide. Although legislative authorities have established limit values for ambient outdoor air and stack emissions, there are inconsistent and variable national and regional limit values for gaseous substances and airborne particulate matter in the built environment (schools, homes, healthcare facilities, offices, and other public spaces). This lack of regulation is unsurprising, because indoor spaces are characterized by complex air chemistry, and their construction materials and types of activities vary significantly. The current understanding of indoor pollutants, including short-lived oxidants, degradation of VOCs, particle formation, and particle composition, is incomplete. It is necessary to identify and assess emerging pollutants and their toxicity, and to consider new consumer products and green construction materials and their impact on indoor air quality (IAQ). Learning from IAQ surveys and audit protocols, research methodologies should be regularized for cross-research comparisons. Some indoor air quality guidance and standards have been written, and several more are in development, with the international ISO 16000 series of indoor standards leading the way for improving indoor air data quality. The WHO has established some ambient air limit values which can mostly be translated into indoor limit values. The built environment needs to harmonize energy efficiency, thermal comfort and air quality standards and guidance. In this review, we discuss the next steps for improving international, regional and national standards and guidance, leading to better and more complete indoor air quality regulations.