Wildfire Smoke: State Policies for Reducing Indoor Exposure

Tobie Bernstein
Date Released
January 2024
Wildfire Report Front Cover

Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of pollutants that can impact communities near and far from the fire. One of the most harmful constituents of wildfire smoke is fine particulate matter, which is linked to respiratory and cardiovascular disease, as well as neurological effects, endocrine disorders, and other adverse health outcomes. During a wildfire smoke episode, people are advised to stay indoors and take steps to reduce smoke inside the building. Fortunately, there are well-established practices for limiting wildfire smoke exposure indoors. One of the key measures, and a focus of this report, is to provide adequate filtration of the air inside buildings. Ensuring that buildings have air filtration capable of removing dangerous pollutants not only makes buildings more resilient to future wildfire smoke episodes but also reduces exposure to vehicle and industrial pollution and to contaminants generated inside the building.

Wildfire Smoke: State Policies for Reducing Indoor Exposure highlights recent state policies and programs for reducing wildfire smoke exposure and improving air quality in homes, schools, and other buildings. The examples included in the report illustrate several key policy strategies: interagency coordination and emergency planning; information, outreach, and education; cleaner air centers; material assistance; and regulatory requirements.

This report and other state policy resources on indoor air quality are available through ELI’s Indoor Environments program: www.eli.org/buildings.

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