Today, the air you breathe outside is more regulated than the air you breathe inside. However, when the impacts of climate change force people to seek shelter indoors, air quality advocates demand greater protection for indoor air quality issues-the
According to studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, poor indoor air quality has been included among the top five global public health risks. Despite this, there is no comprehensive regulation that addresses these harms in a concrete manner and under various plans of action.
No strategy has been enough so far
To address this, WHO has established minimum standards for indoor air pollutants such as benzene and carbon monoxide. In addition, certain European Union countries, such as France and Germany, have taken steps to establish national plans that focus on improving indoor air quality.
In the United States, the Clean Air Act led to major improvements, but that was not enough to reduce the damage produced in enclosed spaces, where Americans spend 90% of their time.
Today, advocates of indoor air quality continue to press for greater protection, including through better standards that can be adopted in building codes.
At the same time, advocates hope that increased funding for research, stronger guidance, and local solutions could also improve this problem.
Further steps for the future
In the United States, the Department of Housing and Urban Development also faces the challenge of balancing indoor air problems and not making affordable housing more expensive for Americans in the face of rising construction costs.
Builders can also adopt voluntary EPA thresholds such as Indoor airPLUS, which sets construction specifications that reduce exposure to indoor emissions of building materials.
Although some state and local building codes fill some of the gaps left by the lack of federal authority, air quality advocates demand greater guarantees.
States such as California have adopted model standards in their codes for non-residential buildings. Other states leave the adoption of norms to local governments, and many states adopt none at all.
In the long term, it is expected that new measures will be put in place to regulate how indoor ventilation works, even before the construction of these spaces in other states of the country. Without a good strategy, communities exposed to low income and high temperatures will be forced to continue to suffer the consequences of poor air quality, especially when they need shelter in enclosed spaces.