DAY 1 Session 1:Speaker: Challenges Barriers Opportunities
World Asthma Foundatiom
This is a text based presentation
The vision of the World Asthma Foundation (WAF) is to improve the quality of life for all Asthmatics. – by advocating for improved understanding of the causes of Asthma, diagnostic tools, methodologies, precision therapies, prevention and one day a cure. WAF supports the Asthma community with educational resources – podcasts, bulletins and in-depth scientific analysis – to foster improved outcomes, doctor-patient relationships and joint decision-making so Asthmatics can take charge of their own health.
In this session you will learn:
the Concepts, Challenges Barriers, Opportunities of Clean Indoor Air.
Clean indoor air is a fundamental aspect of human health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, many people around the world still face challenges and barriers when it comes to breathing fresh, clean air indoors. In this article, we will explore the concepts, challenges, barriers, and opportunities of clean indoor air.
According to the World Health Organization, “Indoor air pollution is a major environmental health problem affecting both developed and developing countries.” The organization also notes that “indoor air pollution is responsible for a significant burden of disease and mortality, particularly in children under five years of age in developing countries.”
Key takeaway: Indoor air quality is a critical factor in creating a healthy indoor environment, and poor IAQ can have significant health impacts.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “indoor air can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air.” This is due to a range of factors, including poor ventilation, the use of chemicals and materials that emit harmful pollutants, and the presence of mold and other allergens.
Key takeaway: Maintaining clean indoor air is a complex challenge that requires addressing multiple sources of pollution.
According to a study by the World Health Organization, “there are currently no global guidelines for indoor air quality, and national guidelines vary widely.” The study notes that this lack of guidelines can make it challenging for individuals and organizations to know how to improve indoor air quality.
In terms of cost, a report by the National Institutes of Health notes that “the cost of improving indoor air quality can be significant, particularly for low-income families and organizations.” The report goes on to note that “there is a need for cost-effective strategies that can be implemented by all individuals and organizations.”
Key takeaway: Barriers to achieving clean indoor air include a lack of regulations and standards and the high cost of implementing measures to improve IAQ.
According to the EPA, “one of the simplest ways to improve indoor air quality is to increase ventilation in buildings.” This can be achieved through the use of air exchange systems, natural ventilation, or opening windows and doors.
In terms of reducing the use of products that emit harmful pollutants, a study by the National Institutes of Health notes that “switching to natural cleaning products can significantly reduce levels of indoor air pollutants.” The study also notes that “avoiding the use of air fresheners and scented candles can also reduce indoor air pollution.”
Finally, there is an opportunity to increase awareness and education about indoor air quality. According to the EPA, “educating individuals and organizations about the importance of indoor air quality is critical in improving IAQ.” The organization notes that “developing educational campaigns and providing information and resources can help individuals and organizations make informed decisions about IAQ.”
Key takeaway: Opportunities for improving indoor air quality include increasing ventilation, reducing the use of products that emit harmful pollutants, and increasing awareness and education about indoor air quality.
There is a significant body of data that supports the concepts, challenges, barriers, and opportunities of clean indoor air. Addressing the challenges and barriers to achieving clean indoor air and taking advantage of the opportunities to improve IAQ are critical steps in creating a healthy and safe indoor environment.
Some of the challenges and barriers to clean indoor air that I found from my research include:
- Air pollution from various sources, such as vehicles, power plants, wildfires, and industrial activities, can harm people’s health and the environment1. Air pollution can also enter buildings through ventilation systems or windows and doors, affecting indoor air quality (IAQ)1.
- Inadequate ventilation in buildings can reduce the amount of fresh air and increase the concentration of pollutants and viruses in indoor air2. Ventilation systems need to be properly designed, installed, maintained, and operated to ensure adequate IAQ2.
- Harsh chemicals from household cleaning supplies, personal care products, paints, pesticides, and other sources can emit fumes that irritate the nose, mouth, lungs, and skin of building occupants3. These chemicals can also contribute to indoor air pollution and affect people’s health3.
- Lack of awareness and education among building owners, operators, and occupants about the importance of IAQ and the actions they can take to improve it4. Many people may not know how to assess, monitor, or improve IAQ in their buildings or how to use ventilation, filtration, and air cleaning systems effectively4.
- Cost and feasibility of implementing IAQ improvements in buildings may vary depending on the type, age, size, and location of the building and the available resources2. Some IAQ actions may increase energy consumption or require technical expertise or equipment that may not be readily available2.
- Bring as much fresh air into your home as possible by opening doors and windows as much as you can, if it is safe to do so1. This helps keep virus particles and other pollutants from accumulating inside. You can also use fans to move virus particles in the air from inside your home to outside1.
- Use ventilation systems that bring outdoor air into your home and distribute it to all occupied spaces2. If your home has a central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC), you can set the fan to the “on” position instead of “auto” when you have visitors, use pleated filters that are more efficient than ordinary furnace filters, and change your filter every three months or according to the manufacturer’s instructions1.
- Turn on the exhaust fan in your bathroom and kitchen when you use these rooms and leave them on for at least an hour after you are done1. This helps remove moisture, odors, and pollutants from these areas and improve indoor air quality.
- Consider using a portable air cleaner or purifier that has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to remove virus particles and other contaminants from the air in a single room or area1. Make sure the air cleaner is the right size for the room and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance1.
- Conduct community engagement, communication, and education to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of ventilation and indoor air quality among building owners, operators, and occupants2. You can also provide guidance and resources on how to assess, monitor, and improve ventilation in different types of buildings2.
- Mechanical air filters are the most widely used filtration system in building HVAC systems. They use a physical barrier, such as a pleated or fiberglass filter, to trap particles as air passes through them1. They can vary in efficiency and size, depending on the type and rating of the filter1.
- Gas-phase systems are designed to remove gaseous pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), from the air. They use activated carbon or other sorbent materials to adsorb or chemically react with the gases1. They are usually used in combination with mechanical filters to remove both particles and gases1.
- UV light systems use ultraviolet radiation to inactivate or destroy microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and mold spores, in the air. They are often installed in HVAC ducts or air handlers to treat the air before it enters the indoor spaces1. They may also be combined with mechanical filters or other air cleaning devices to enhance their effectiveness1.
- Portable air cleaners are standalone devices that can be placed in individual rooms or areas to filter the air. They usually have a fan that draws air through a filter or a combination of filters, such as a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, and a carbon filter2. They can help reduce indoor air pollution, especially for people with allergies or asthma, but they cannot remove all pollutants from the air2.
- An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This guide is intended to help people who work in office buildings learn about the factors that contribute to indoor air quality and comfort problems and the roles of building managers and occupants in maintaining a good indoor environment1. It covers topics such as sources of pollutants, ventilation systems, comfort and productivity, and shared responsibility for IAQ.
- IAQ Building Education and Assessment Model (I-BEAM) by the EPA. This is a guidance tool designed for use by building professionals and others interested in indoor air quality in commercial buildings. It contains text, animation/visual, and interactive/calculation components that can be used to perform several tasks related to IAQ, such as conducting an audit, diagnosing and resolving problems, establishing a management and maintenance program, planning energy projects, protecting occupants from construction/renovation contaminants, and calculating the cost, revenue, and productivity impacts of IAQ activities2.
- Maintaining Indoor Air Quality During Construction and Renovation Projects by Boston College. This is a guidance document that provides best practices for minimizing IAQ impacts during construction and renovation projects in occupied buildings. It covers topics such as project planning, communication, source control, isolation and containment, ventilation, cleaning, monitoring, and documentation3.
- Indoor Air Quality Building Education and Assessment Model by the EPA. This is a web-based resource that provides information and tools for managing IAQ in commercial buildings. It includes modules on fundamentals of IAQ, HVAC systems, pollutant sources and control strategies, energy efficiency and IAQ compatibility, IAQ management plans, IAQ audits and problem solving, cost-benefit analysis, communication and education4.
- Indoor air quality (IAQ) is important for the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants and the environment.
- IAQ can be affected by various factors, such as sources of pollutants, ventilation systems, moisture and humidity, and occupant perceptions and susceptibilities.
- The most effective ways to improve IAQ are to reduce or remove the sources of pollutants and to ventilate with clean outdoor air. Filtration can be an effective supplement to source control and ventilation.
- There are different types of air filtration and cleaning systems that can help reduce indoor air pollution, such as mechanical filters, gas-phase systems, UV light systems, and portable air cleaners. Each type has its advantages and limitations depending on the situation and the contaminants involved.
- IAQ is a shared responsibility among building owners, managers, operators, and occupants. Everyone can take actions to improve IAQ, such as following good practices for cleaning, maintenance, communication, education, and problem solving.
|– Safe and proven technology since the 1940s.
– Traps microscopic particles, such as dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and viruses.
– Certified performance by industry standards.
– Suitable for all room sizes.
– Supports multiple filtrations.
|– Cannot target smoke particles.
– Requires regular replacement and maintenance.
– Can be costly in the long run.
|– Removes gaseous pollutants, such as VOCs, odors, and chemical fumes.
– Can be used in combination with mechanical filters to remove both particles and gases.
|– Not effective against microorganisms or allergens.
– May have a limited lifespan or capacity.
– May produce harmful byproducts or ozone.
|UV light systems
|– Inactivates or destroys microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and mold spores.
– Can be installed in HVAC ducts or air handlers to treat the air before it enters the indoor spaces.
– May also be combined with mechanical filters or other air cleaning devices to enhance their effectiveness.
|– Not effective against non-living pollutants, such as dust or smoke.
– Requires direct exposure and sufficient intensity to work properly.
– May generate ozone or other harmful substances if not designed properly.
|Portable air cleaners
|– Can be placed in individual rooms or areas to filter the air.
– Usually have a fan that draws air through a filter or a combination of filters, such as a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, and a carbon filter.
– Can help reduce indoor air pollution, especially for people with allergies or asthma.
|– Cannot remove all pollutants from the air.
– May have limited coverage or capacity depending on the size and type of the device.
– Requires regular replacement and maintenance of the filters.
You can use these references to visit the websites and download the materials if they are available in PDF or other formats. Here are the references:
- An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality –
- IAQ Building Education and Assessment Model (I-BEAM) –
- Maintaining Indoor Air Quality During Construction and Renovation Projects –
- Indoor Air Quality Building Education and Assessment Model –