Good Indoor Air Quality and Healthy Buildings


Good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) enhances occupant health and comfort.  It contributes to increased workplace productivity and well-being.  Poor indoor air quality has the opposite effect.  It can cause drowsiness, headaches, eye irritation, and other symptoms. 


Common concerns and fixes:


Temperature and Humidity Issues

If the problem is a comfort issue related to temperature and/or humidity, contact the Department of Facilities for assistance. Click here to access Facilities information on temperature concerns and link to the Facilities Work Request site.



Smoking Is NOT allowed in MIT Buildings (with few exceptions). It is not allowed near doorways or air intakes. This also applies to electronic cigarettes or other nicotine delivery methods as it may contribute to poor IAQ.  Click here for the MIT policy.


Common IAQ or Odor Issues

  • Rotting food odor: from trash barrels, a forgotten lunch in a desk, refrigerators.  Clean your refrigerator and kitchen.  Place a request through Atlas to reach Custodial Services and to have trash removed.
  • Dead animal smell: common at the start of winter as animals come inside.  Place a request through Atlas to reach Pest Control and have the pest removed and the area cleaned.
  • Sewer gas odors: from traps inside floor drains that have dried up.  Contact Facilities to seal drains that are no longer used.  Add water to drains monthly to keep traps full.
  • Diesel or vehicle exhaust odors: from operating vehicles near air intakes or open windows.  Contact your Building Manager to have vehicles moved and have signs posted.
  • Natural Gas Odor: Contact Facilities and EHS to check for leaks.

Other Odors

  • Outdoor and indoor construction activities: odors from paint, welding, construction vehicles. Call EHS who will work with Facilities Project Manager to control odors.  You may also call the Project Manager.
  • Musty, mold smell: Look for water damage or mold growth.  Contact EHS for an evaluation.
  • Other odors such as chemical odors or unexplained symptoms: Contact EHS for an evaluation.



For an investigation of an indoor air quality (or odor) concern, contact the EHS Office at our main number (617-452-3477) or email   For more details on Indoor Air Quality and EHS evaluations see the EHS IAQ SOP.