The Building and Environmental Services Association Indoor Air Quality group was called to address increasing concern in the health implications of being exposed to poor indoor air quality. Representatives from the air movement industry, CIBSE, B&ES attended with BSRIA and other members of the academic community are expected to participate in this group.
The meeting reflected the concern on indoor exposure to air pollution recently expressed by Joan Walley MP: Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee who said:
“We know that there are risks of exposure to poor air quality, to nitrogen dioxide and to particulates. These pollutants are having a large effect on children’s health and if you look at the long term, if you look at this as a whole, then you have to start to question the cost of not taking preventative measures of these kinds.”
She also said:
“There is a public health crisis in terms of poor air quality. There are nearly as many deaths now caused by air pollution as there are from smoking, so the main thing is we stop a new generation of children being exposed.”
She added that “well over a thousand” schools were already near major roads and that it “made sound economic sense” to filter the air coming into the buildings.
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This is the first time officially that a firm government link has been made between poor indoor air quality and high levels of traffic air pollution.
Schools and Hospitals were identified as being of high importance and a priority for action to provide an effective haven against daily exposure to traffic air pollution.
A presentation was made by Peter Dyment of Camfil to the group to emphasize how extreme the air pollution is in London and how high the concentrations of traffic pollution can be present without people being aware or making the link to their own health risk.
On a bad air pollution day in central London, even well specified and well maintained air filters in building air systems will struggle to clean the air sufficiently to make it healthy for people to breathe.
In these situations a range of actions could be recommended that could include improving the effectiveness of existing filter systems or the additional use of standalone air purifiers.
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