Communities throughout the U.S. are experiencing a variety of conditions associated with a changing climate – hotter summers and heat waves, droughts, intense storms and flooding, increased average precipitation and humidity, and more severe wildfires. Many of the health impacts from these conditions will result from exposures that occur indoors, where people spend the vast majority of their time. Research has shown that indoor exposures to biological and chemical contaminants have significant negative effects on health and productivity and cost the nation billions of dollars a year.
Over the past several years, scientists have begun to examine and describe comprehensively how indoor air quality (IAQ) may be affected by a changing climate. This report reviews state policies addressing three residential IAQ issues discussed in the recent scientific literature: wildfire smoke; dampness and mold; and the effect of home energy efficiency upgrades on IAQ. Because these are already significant public health issues, strengthening state policies and programs is important regardless of the magnitude of future climate change impacts.The report describes in detail current state laws, regulations, and other policies, and highlights approaches for consideration by other jurisdictions. By taking action to reduce indoor exposures, states have an opportunity to put in place policies that not only prepare for anticipated increased future risks, but also reap considerable health and economic benefits in the near term.
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