Indoor air pollution and exposure assessment of the gulf cooperation council countries: A critical review

Patrick Amoatey, Hamid Omidvarborna, Mahad Said Baawain*, Abdullah Al-Mamun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Indoor air pollution is one of the human health threat problems in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. In these countries, due to unfavorable meteorological conditions, such as elevated ambient temperature, high relative humidity, and natural events such as dust storms, people spend a substantial amount of their time in indoor environments. In addition, production of physical and biological aerosols from air conditioners, cooking activities, burning of Arabian incense, and overcrowding due to pilgrimage programs are common causes of low quality indoor air in this region. Thus, due to infiltration of outdoor sources as well as various indoor sources, people living in the GCC countries are highly exposed to indoor air pollutants. Inhalation of indoor air pollutants causes mortalities and morbidities attributed to cardiorespiratory, pulmonary, and lung cancer diseases. Hence, the aim of this review study is to provide a summary of the major findings of indoor air pollution studies in different microenvironments in six GCC countries. These include characterization of detected indoor air pollutants, exposure concentration levels, source identifications, sustainable building designs and ventilation systems, and the mitigation strategies. To do so, >130 relevant indoor air pollution studies across the GCC countries were critically reviewed. Particulate matters (PM10 and PM2.5), total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and heavy metals were identified as the reported indoor air pollutants. Apart from them, indoor Radon and bioaerosols were studied only in specific GCC countries. Thus, future studies should also focus on the investigation of emerging indoor air pollutants, such as ultrafine and nanoparticles and their associated health effects. Furthermore, studies on the mitigation of indoor air pollution through the development of advanced air purification and ventilation systems could improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) in the GCC region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-506
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironment international
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Exposure assessment
  • GCC countries
  • Indoor air pollution
  • Mitigation
  • Ventilation systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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