A recent Institute of Medicine of the National Academies report claims that climate change and attempts to mitigate its effects may adversely affect indoor air quality. Titled “Climate Change, The Indoor Environment, and Health,” the EPA-commissioned report reviews existing climate change research, extrapolates the effects on indoor environments and makes recommendations for mitigating the effects based on existing research. The report is available for purchase from The National Academies Press.
The report identifies five major types of climate-induced indoor environmental issues: (i) indoor air quality; (ii) dampness, moisture and flooding; (iii) infectious agents and pests; (iv) thermal stress; and (v) building ventilation, weatherization and energy use. The report notes that some efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as making buildings more energy efficient, may restrict ventilation and create additional indoor problems.
The report recommends developing programs that identify at-risk populations, implementing ventilation standards for public buildings, conducting research about the potential adverse health effects of climate change mitigation and adaptive efforts, revising building codes to reflect expected climate change, and educating the public about the effects of climate change.