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UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Blogs from UCL IEDE Staff and Students


Every Breath We Take: Indoor Air Pollution and Health

By Clive Shrubsole, on 24 February 2016

indoor air quality, homes, skylineI got rather excited yesterday…..and then out of breath….

For the first time in ages, the issue of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) got a full public airing with the arrival of a report published jointly by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath. Titled ‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution’, it presented a stark message that each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution, with more linked also to exposure to indoor pollutants. https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution (downloads available at the bottom of the webpage).Whilst the main focus of the report was on outdoor air issues, (previously blogged on; ‘Innovative solutions to the problems of airborne pollution in cities’ and ‘Vehicle emissions: its time to put emphasis back on human health’), the issues of indoor air were also finally acknowledged. With the UK population spending over 80% of our time indoors, and around half (48–53%) of our time in our own homes, buildings and occupant behaviour have the potential to act as significant modifiers on population exposure to pollution from both outdoor and indoor sources.

For those of us at UCL IEDE involved in research on health, wellbeing, and the impacts of indoor environments it was a familiar message and one that we have spoken and published on extensively over a long period. (more…)