07 June 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Around 72 per cent of Brits say they know very little or nothing about indoor air quality and its effects, shows research commissioned by environmental solutions company Veolia.
The survey, carried out by YouGov*, also shows that 73 per cent agree that the government should develop indoor air quality guidelines for all public buildings and 31 per cent of respondents had never heard about the subject of indoor air quality before. Fifty-five per cent of the respondents claim to be unconcerned about indoor air quality and their health.
Veolia has called on the government to refine its indoor air quality regulatory guidance, and align it with the World Health Organization's standards.
Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer, Veolia UK & Ireland, said: "We can smell car fumes and sometimes we see dust levels outside, but little is known about invisible indoor air pollution and its potential health effects - thought to be eight times more dangerous than outdoor conditions.
"Veolia has been monitoring and studying indoor air at a global level for over 10 years, and out of the hundreds of buildings it has audited, at least 80 per cent have required some corrective action - in the UK it is no different. Our research shows the public is poorly informed on an issue that will affect each and every one of us - we spend eight hours a day in the buildings, much longer than we spend commuting."
Kirkman added: "Current government advice on indoor air quality is fragmented, ineffective and has been poorly enforced to date. Solutions are available to prevent further indoor air-related health impacts, but only if the problem is taken seriously by policy-makers and stronger guidelines are imposed. Adopting guidance on indoor air quality will be an important, immediate step in preventing a whole generation from suffering unnecessary ill health or reduced life expectancy."
* The survey was carried out online. The total sample size of respondents was 2,025 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31 June and 3 May. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all British adults (aged 18+).