07 February 2020 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has called on the government to include strong measures to target indoor air quality (IAQ) in its latest environment bill.
The association's plea follows the publication of research highlighting the severe impact on children's health caused by poor indoor environments throughout the UK.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) carried out a wide-ranging survey of buildings that showed indoor air can be many times more polluted than external air.
This is because of a combination of different sources including smoke, damp, traffic fumes, chemicals aerosols and particulates from wood burning.
The government's bill promises to increase the powers of local authorities to "address sources of air pollution and reduce airborne particulates".
It specifically mentions potential vehicle sanctions, but is silent on the issue of IAQ despite the fact that indoor air is often many times more polluted than outside air, according to the study.
Clinicians believe this is behind the rapid growth in the number of people suffering from asthma and increasing severity of asthma attacks.
The situation is particularly grave among children, who also suffer from impaired lung function and potentially reduced life expectancy. Poor IAQ is also linked to a range of respiratory complaints and allergic conditions including conjunctivitis, dermatitis and eczema.