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Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Policy Resource Center

Policy Briefs

The past two decades have witnessed considerable development in the body of state policy aimed at reducing exposure to pollutants indoors and promoting best practices in building management and construction. Nevertheless, nearly every state can benefit from stronger policies in this area.

ELI’s Policy Briefs address emerging policy issues that have captured the attention of some state legislatures and that represent important opportunities for protecting health and the environment in other states as well. Briefs are updated periodically as new state laws are enacted. Each of the Briefs below includes an overview of the issue and a summary of policies enacted to date.

Air Quality in Indoor Ice Arenas
In recent years, incidents involving exposure to carbon monoxide inside ice arenas have been reported in a number of states. This policy brief describes state laws and regulations that establish indoor air quality requirements for ice arenas.

Indoor Chemical Exposures 
Chemicals are emitted by a wide array of products and materials used indoors. State policy is playing an increasingly prominent role in managing chemical risks in order to reduce exposures. This Policy Brief focuses on state laws that have addressed chemicals management broadly by establishing frameworks for identifying, prioritizing, and regulating chemicals of concern in products.

Indoor Air Quality in Rental Dwellings
With one-third of the nation’s housing units occupied by renters, state policy makers can advance healthy housing goals by strengthening their laws and regulations that establish minimum conditions in rental housing. This Policy Brief discusses laws adopted by states to reduce tenants’ exposure to three important indoor pollutants—radon, mold, and secondhand smoke.

Green Cleaning in Schools
There is growing recognition of the potential environmental and health risks posed by chemicals in cleaning products. This Policy Brief describes state laws that advance Green Cleaning practices in schools in order to reduce exposures for children and staff.

Radon Control in New Home Construction
Indoor exposure to radon causes over 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. Building radon control into new homes is a cost-effective way of reducing exposure to high radon levels. This Policy Brief describes existing state policies that require radon-resistant new construction practices.

Healthy, High Performance School Construction
Healthy, high performance design and construction strategies for K-12 schools represent a cost-effective approach to supporting learning, promoting health, and advancing environmental conservation. This Policy Brief reviews the growing number of state laws that require and promote green school construction.