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Recent Developments in Indoor Air Quality Policy

 

ELI tracks policy developments nationwide related to indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools, homes, and other buildings. Here, we highlight some of the notable recent developments in enacted IAQ laws and regulations around the country. The focus is at the state level, but significant federal and local policies may be included as well.

Indoor Air Quality is a broad subject, encompassing many different pollutant sources, activities, and building types. This page provides only a sampling of recent developments in IAQ laws and regulations. Other ELI materials provide and update more extensive listings of state IAQ policies on some issues – see our Database of State IAQ Laws for a broad collection of IAQ laws, our Topics in School Environmental Health resource for state laws on nine different school IAQ topics, and our Policy Briefs covering several evolving IAQ policy issues.

 

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vtVermont Law Establishes School HVAC Upgrade Program to Address COVID-19

June 2020 – In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Vermont legislature has appropriated $6.5 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to fund the newly established School Indoor Air Quality Grant Program (2020 Vt. Laws No. 120, H. 961.)  The program, administered through Efficiency Vermont, will provide grants to K-12 schools to repair, maintain, and upgrade HVAC systems consistent with ASHRAE and CDC COVID-19 guidelines.

 

md Maryland Prohibits Sale of Products Containing Flame-Retardant Chemicals

May 2020 - Maryland has enacted legislation (Sen. Bill 0447) prohibiting the sale or importation of any children’s product, mattress, or upholstered furniture containing more than 0.1% of flame-retardant chemicals. The law authorizes civil penalties for willful violations.

 

vaVirginia Requires Legionella Water Management Programs in Schools

April 2020 - Virginia has enacted an education law (2020 Virginia Laws Ch. 776 (S.B. 410)) requiring school boards to maintain a water management program for the prevention of Legionnaire’s disease at each public school building. Schools boards must validate the program at least annually, and schools are required to maintain and make available for review the results of all validation and remediation activities. (Related ELI Resource: Policy Brief)

 

NYCNew York City Expands Legal Framework for Lead Poisoning Preventing

February 2020 - New York City adopted new laws strengthening the existing requirements for preventing lead poisoning in schools and rental dwellings. One law (Int 0873-2018) expands the requirements for regular surveys and inspections of schools for lead-based paint hazards and madates delivery of results to parents and guardians. The law also addresses lead in rental housing, bolstering enforcement where landlords fail to take certain required actions to address lead-based paint hazards before new tenants move in. Another law (Int 0891-2018) expands the applicability of the lead paint provisions in the city housing maintenance code to one- and two-family homes. (Related ELI Resource: Tenants' Guide)

 

NYSNew York Establishes Framework for Regulating Chemicals in Children’s Products

February 2020 – A new law enacted by the New York State legislature (N.Y. Senate Bill 501-B (2019 Session)) establishes a program requiring manufacturers to disclose the use of certain chemicals in children’s products, banning the use of certain chemicals by 2023, and creating a framework under which additional “dangerous chemicals” and “chemicals of concern” may be identified and prohibited from use in the future. (Related ELI Resource: Policy Brief)

 

mtMontana Health Regulations Strengthen Indoor Air Quality Practices in Schools

January 2020 - Montana's health agency has adopted regulations (Mt. Admin. Rules 37.111.826-827) calling on schools to conduct annual inspections of school ventilation systems and of school IAQ generally, using EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools checklist. The regulations also address the growing problem of wildfire smoke episodes by requiring enhanced air filtration in schools and directing schools to have a protocol in place for limiting infiltration of outside air during poor air quality conditions. (Related ELI Resource: Topics in School Env. Health)

 

iowa cityIowa City, Iowa Requires Radon Testing and Mitigation in Rental Homes

December 2019 - Iowa City has enacted an ordinance (Ord. No. 19-4816) revising its minimum standards for rental housing to include a requirement that all single-family and duplex rental units be tested for radon and retested every eight years.  If the test results are 4 pCi/L or higher, a mitigation system must be installed within 90 days. Mitigation systems must “function safely and shall be maintained in proper working condition.”  The requirements apply to new rental housing permits and permit renewals issued on or after July 1, 2020. (Related ELI Resources: Policy Brief)

 

NYS

New York Prohibits Installation of Mercury-Containing Floors in Schools

November 2019 - New York has amended the state environmental code to address the problem of school gym floors that contain mercury. The new legislation (A.7986prohibits any elementary or secondary school in the state from installing a mercury-containing floor or installing a floor over a mercury-containing floor without first removing the mercury-containing floor. The law also sets a time-weighted average mercury vapor exposure limit of 750 nanograms per cubic meter for employees or students. The law applies to gym floor installations after Jan. 1, 2021.

 

calid capitolCalifornia to Create a Network of Wildfire Smoke Clean Air Centers for Vulnerable Residents

October 2019 - California has enacted a new law (A.B. 836) establishing the Wildfire Smoke Clean Air Centers for Vulnerable Populations Incentive Pilot Program to “provide funding through a grant program to retrofit ventilation systems to create a network of clean air centers in order to mitigate the adverse public health impacts due to wildfires and other smoke events.” The program, administered by the California Air Resources Board, will create a network of clean air centers at schools, community centers, libraries and other public buildings. The law prioritizes projects located in areas with documented high cumulative smoke exposure burdens and requires that program guidelines and eligibility criteria consider vulnerable populations (including communities with diverse racial and ethnic populations and communities with low-income communities) and the location of clean air facilities relative to those populations. (Related ELI Resources: Research Reports)

 

washWashington State Strengthens its Policy Framework for Regulating Priority Chemicals

July 2019 - Washington State enacted a new public health and safety law that establishes a framework for the state’s Department of Ecology to identify, evaluate, and regulate “priority chemicals” and “priority consumer products that are a significant source or use of priority chemicals.” (2019 Wash. Legis. Serv. Ch. 292 (S.S.B. 5135).) Among other factors, the Department must consider whether a chemical or product  is “a concern for sensitive populations” when making its determination. The law requires the Department to identify priority consumer products by 2020; to determine regulatory actions for those products, which may include restricting or prohibiting their manufacture, distribution, sale, and/or use, by 2022; and to adopt rules to implement such actions by 2023. (Related ELI Resources: Policy Brief)

 

nevadaNevada to Require IPM in Schools

June 2019 - Nevada passed legislation requiring establishment of “an integrated pest management policy for controlling pests and weeds on the property of a school district.” The policy must include, among other things, written guidelines for determining when specific measures should be taken to control pests and weeds; these guidelines must prioritize the use of preventive measures; require the use of nonchemical pest or weed management before using pesticides or herbicides; and require any use of pesticides or herbicides to be carried out in a manner that creates the lowest possible risk to health and safety. The law also requires the appointment of a chief IPM coordinator in each school district and requires certain employees of a school district to be certified in IPM (if the certification is available at no additional cost to the school district). (Related ELI Resource: Topics in School Env. Health)

 

col Colorado Increases Habitability Protections for Tenants

May 2019 -- Colorado approved amendments to its residential landlord-tenant law (HB19-1170) to provide protections against mold and dampness conditions that “would materially interfere with the life, health, or safety of a tenant.” Within 96 hours of receiving notice of such conditions, a landlord must install a containment to stop active sources of water contributing to the mold, as well as install a high-efficiency particulate air filtration device to reduce tenants’ exposure; the law also requires the landlord to perform certain remedial actions “within a reasonable amount of time” and to provide the tenant with a comparable dwelling or hotel room upon request. (Related ELI Resources: Policy Brief)

 

delDelaware's New Child Care Rules Address Radon and Other Indoor Exposures

April 2019 – Delaware’s revised child care licensing rules (9 DE ADC 101-1.0, 103-1.0) add important environmental health protections for children and staff. The new rules establish radon testing and mitigation requirements, as well as requirements for indoor air sampling if a child care facility is co-located with a dry cleaner, nail salon, or other use that may result in unacceptable indoor air quality. The rule also strengthens existing provisions for monitoring and addressing lead-based paint hazards. (Related ELI Resources: Research Reports)

 

Ill

llinois Strengthens Rules Addressing Lead Poisoning

February 2019 - With the adoption of new health rules (77 Ill. Adm. Code 845.55), Illinois joins a growing number of states that have strengthened their definition of  Elevated Blood Lead Level to mean a blood lead level greater than or equal to 5 μg/dL, the current CDC reference level. The rules also revise the actions required upon finding that a person has an elevated blood lead level, which include lead inspections, lead risk assessments, and any necessary follow-up in homes, schools and childcare facilities. (Related ELI Resource: Research Report.)

 

oregonOregon Adopts Integrated Pest Management Licensing Category

January 2019 - Oregon Dept. of Agriculture regulations (Or. Admin. Code 603-057-0110) now provide for an optional School Integrated Pest Management license category, aimed at strengthening compliance with the state’s School IPM Law. To earn the license, individuals must demonstrate knowledge of IPM strategies and of the increased risks posed by pesticides to children. They must also have knowledge of the state IPM law, which among other things restricts the application of pesticides when students are present and requires that schools have an IPM Plan and IPM Coordinator. (Related ELI Resource: Topics in School Env. Health.)

 

minnMinnesota Adopts New Rules for Radon Professionals

December 2018 - Minnesota finalized rules establishing licensing requirements and work practices to ensure radon measurement and radon mitigation are performed in a manner that minimizes the public's exposure to radon gas. The rules, which implement a 2017 law, take effect January 1, 2019; however, the portion of the regulations that require licensing for residential mitigation activities are on hold pending resolution of a legal challenge. (Related ELI Resource: Research Report.)

 

calid capitolCalifornia Law Helps Schools Improve Air Filtration

Sept. 2018 -- New legislation in California (Cal. Assembly Bill No. 2453) establishes that state school modernization funds may be used “to limit pupil exposure to harmful air pollutants by updating air filtration systems” and encourages school districts to add air filtration systems to applications for modernization apportionments “when air pollution occasionally or regularly exceed levels known to be harmful to public health.” Schools in communities with “high cumulative exposure burdens” are eligible for certain state grants to implement air quality mitigation efforts, including air filter upgrades and installations, provided that funds are appropriated for the grants.

 

ri state capitol

Rhode Island Establishes Stricter IAQ Standards for Ice Arenas

July 2018 - As of July 1, 2018, ice arenas in Rhode Island must comply with an air quality standard for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), in addition to a standard for carbon monoxide (CO). The NO2 standard (0.5 ppm) is established by a June 2018 update to the state regulations governing indoor air quality in ice arenas. The amendment to the regulations also lowers the existing CO standard (from 35 to 30 ppm) and clarifies corrective action and maintenance requirements, among other changes.

 

ctConnecticut Establishes New Healthy Homes Fund

 June 2018 - Connecticut enacted a law (P.A. 18-160) establishing a Healthy Homes Fund, which will be used by the state Department of Housing to fund a program “to reduce health and safety hazards in residential dwellings in Connecticut, including, but not limited to, lead, radon and other contaminants or conditions, through removal, remediation, abatement and other appropriate methods.” The Healthy Homes Fund will be funded with remittances from a new surcharge on homeowner’s insurance policies, established in the same legislation, which will take effect on January 1, 2019.

 

NYS

New York to Require Cleaning Product Manufacturers to Disclose Ingredients

June 2018 - The N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a new policy detailing requirements for manufacturers of household cleaning products to disclose information to DEC about intentionally-added ingredients in the  products, including fragrances, byproducts, and impurities. Companies must also post the information on their website, along with: a description of information being withheld as confidential business information; studies the company has conducted on  health and environmental effects of the products; and a toll-free number for consumers to get more information. The disclosure requirements – with effective dates ranging from July 1, 2019 to January 1, 2023 – implement long-standing state law and regulations that direct manufacturers of cleaning products to submit ingredient information about their products as required by the DEC. N.Y. Envl. Conservation Law 35-0107; 6 N.Y. Code Rules & Regs. 659.6. 

 

mdMaryland Establishes Healthy School Facility Fund

May 2018 - Maryland enacted a law (Md. Educ. Code § 5-323.) establishing a Healthy School Facility Fund. The purpose of the fund is “to provide grants to public primary and secondary schools in the State to improve the health of school facilities.” The law directs the Governor to appropriate at least $30 million to the fund in each of fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Priority in awarding grants from the fund will be based on severity of issues in schools, including but not limited to indoor air quality and mold remediation.

 

calid capitolCalifornia to Require Increased Filtration in New Home Ventilation Systems

May 2018 – The California Energy Commission approved the state's 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, to take effect January 1, 2020. While the new standards made headlines for requiring solar photovoltaic systems for new homes, they are also noteworthy for an indoor air quality first -- a requirement that ventilation systems in both high rise and low rise residential buildings have air filters with a minimum MERV 13 efficiency rating. 2019 Standards, Title 24 Cal. Code Regs., Part 6, Sections 120.1(b), 150.0(m).

 

 EPAU.S. EPA Formaldehyde Rule to Take Effect June 1, 2018

March 2018 - A federal District Court rejected a U.S. EPA rule that sought to delay compliance deadlines for the agency’s new national formaldehyde emissions standards until December 2018.  In March, the Court set a June 1, 2018 compliance deadline for the EPA formaldehyde rule, which implements a 2010 law requiring EPA to adopt standards for composite wood products aligned with those already adopted by California.

 

NYCNew York City Requires Landlords to Address Mold and Pest Infestation

January 2018 - New York City enacted the Asthma Free Housing Act (2018/055) amending the city’s housing maintenance code to require private landlords to prevent and remediate indoor allergen hazards, including mold and pest infestation. Among other things, the law requires use of IPM practices and specified mold remediation practices. The law also directs the city to incorporate mold and pest infestation in its housing code inspections, train enforcement staff, and establish procedures for implementing the law. (Related ELI Resources: Policy Brief; Research Report.)

 

colorado state house

Colorado Launches Program to Help Low Income Families Reduce Radon Levels

November 2017 – Colorado published guidance for its new Low Income Radon Mitigation Assistance Program.  A 2016 state law (Co. Rev. Stat. §25-11-114) created the program, to be funded by the state hazardous substance response fund. Agency rules (6 Co. Code Regs. 1007-1 Part 21) set eligibility criteria, application procedures, and contractor qualifications for receiving funding for radon mitigation system installation and post-installation testing in owner-occupied homes.

 

calid capitolCalifornia to Require Chemical Ingredient Disclosure for Cleaning Products

October 2017 – California enacted the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act requiring manufacturers of specified types of cleaning products sold in the state to disclose certain chemicals used in the products, and requiring employers to provide that information to their employees. The law lists the information that must be disclosed, both on the product label (by 2021) and the product website (by 2020). (Related ELI Resources: Policy Brief, Topics in School Env. Health.)

 

calif state houseCalifornia Directs Funding to New Woodsmoke Reduction Program

October 2017 – California enacted a law (Ca. SB 563) establishing a Woodsmoke Reduction Program to incentivize voluntary replacement of old, uncertified wood-burning stoves with cleaner burning, more efficient models. Funding will be provided based in part on the location of the home and household income. Funded through the state Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, the program aims to distribute 75% of its funding to households in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

 

maine state capitolRhode Island and Maine Ban Flame Retardants in Residential Furniture 

October 2017 Rhode Island enacted a law (R.I. Pub. Law 2017, ch 380) prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or distribution of any residential upholstered furniture and bedding that contains 100 ppm or greater of any organohalogen flame-retardant chemical. The ban takes effect July 1, 2019, and manufacturers must notify sellers in the state about the ban prior to that date. The law directs the state health agency to enforce the ban and establishes civil penalties for violations.

 

maine state capitolAugust 2017 Maine also enacted a law (38 Me. Rev. Stat. §1609-A) prohibiting the sale or distribution of new residential upholstered furniture made with materials containing more than 0.1% of a flame-retardant chemical or a mixture including a flame-retardant chemical. The prohibition takes effect January 1, 2019, with a sell-through provision. The state is required to develop regulations to implement the law.

 

 

OREGON STATE CAPITOLOregon Requires Schools to Adopt Plans for Addressing Environmental Hazards

August  2017 – Oregon amended its Education Code to require schools to adopt a Healthy and Safe Schools Plan to address, at a minimum, lead, radon, asbestos, IPM, and CO. The law (Or. SB 1062) requires the state to develop a model plan, plus information on substances that may pose health risks. Creates a Healthy Schools Facilities Fund to assist schools financially in implementing the plan. The law builds on a state education rule that initially directed schools to develop the plans. (Related ELI Resources: Topics in School Env. Health.)

 

delaware state capitolDelaware to Provide Information to Help Schools Improve IEQ

July 2017 – Noting recent concerns over school IEQ, the Delaware legislature acted to require the creation of a Healthy Schools Indoor Environment Portal on the state health agency website. The new education law (14 De. Code §§4301-4306) directs the state health and education agencies to collaborate with school districts to identify information and technical resources for improving IEQ, and directs schools to display publicly the contact information for the state Division of Public Health. (Related ELI Resources: Topics in School Env. Health.)

 

cal state capitolCalifornia Finalizes Rule Listing First Priority Product under Green Chemistry Law

July 2017 – The California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control finalized a rule (22 Cal. Code Regs. §69511) listing children's foam-padded sleeping products with TDCPP or TCEP flame retardants as a Priority Product and requiring manufacturers to submit a Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report. The rule follows a 2008 state law and subsequent regulations that set a framework for the state to identify, prioritize, evaluate and regulate chemicals of concern in consumer products. (Related ELI Resources: Policy Brief.)

 

nj state capitolNew Jersey Requires CO Detectors in Existing Buildings

June 2017 – New Jersey‘s Fire Safety Code (N.J. Admin. Code § 5:70- 4.9) requires, as of September 3, 2017, the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) detection equipment in all existing buildings, including residential and educational facilities, that have fuel-burning appliances or attached garages. The code establishes criteria for the types of devices that may be used and standards for installation and maintenance. (Related ELI Resources: Topics in School Env’l. Health.)

 

nebraska state capitolNebraska to Develop Standards for Radon Resistant Buildings

April 2017 - Nebraska enacted the Radon Resistant New Construction Act (LB9). The Act creates a special Task Force to develop minimum standards for radon resistant new construction by spring 2018. “New construction” is defined to include original construction of residential, commercial, industrial, medical, and educational buildings. The legislature intends to use the Task Force recommendations to set statewide standards in 2019. (Related ELI Resource: Policy Brief.)

 

utah state capitolUtah Joins NY in Requiring Existing Nail Salons to Have Improved Ventilation

March 2017 – Utah enacted a law adopting the 2015 International Mechanical Code (IMC), with amendments to the IMC provisions governing ventilation in nail salons. The law (Ut. Code §15A-3-402) includes a modified source capture system requirement for all new and existing nail salon manicure stations that file or shape acrylic nails. Existing salons must comply by July 2020. (Related ELI Resource: Policy Brief.)

 

HUDHUD Requires Smoke Free Policies in Public Housing

February 2017 – HUD’s final rule took effect, requiring all Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to implement a smoke-free policy by July 31, 2018. The rule applies to all public housing units, interior areas, and outdoor areas within 25 feet of the housing. HUD also published a Guidebook to provide PHAs a roadmap for adopting a smoke-free policy. (Related ELI Resource: Policy Brief.)

 

DC Wilson bldgD.C. Government to Assess Public Buildings for Environmental Risk

January 2017 – The District of Columbia enacted the Healthy Public Buildings Assessment Act (DC Law 21-237). The law requires the D.C. Dept. of General Services to assess D.C.-owned buildings (including schools) for at least the following potential IAQ risks: mold, ventilation, lead, asbestos, CO, and radon. The agency must set inspection and remediation protocols and post online the results of assessments and remediation activities. (Related ELI Resource: Topics in School Env’l. Health.)