What about indoor air?
Indoor air is the air that we breathe in our homes, schools and workplaces. The quality of indoor air is important because we typically spend more than 80 percent of our time inside.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency works to reduce outdoor (or ambient) air pollution, targeting the pollutants that present the greatest health risk. The same actions that improve ambient air quality also affect indoor air quality because outdoor air penetrates indoor environments with varying degrees of infiltration, depending on the building.
Additionally, some of our programs affect indoor environments more directly:
Our asbestos permitting program reduces asbestos exposures by ensuring proper protective measures are taken during abatement
Our wood stove outreach programs inform residents about clean-heating choices and other ways to reduce fine particulate and air toxics exposures
Our extensive Diesel Solutions retrofit program reduces the exposures of children on school buses, another type of “indoor” environment
Beyond these programs, our agency is not directly involved with indoor air quality but several of our partners do have programs:
The American Lung Association of Washington has developed a program that sends volunteers into homes to assess indoor air quality and make simple recommendations to reduce exposures. Through this program, the Lung Association has trained hundreds of volunteers who have reached thousands of homes in the Puget Sound region.
Indoor air quality concerns in office buildings are typically handled by the Department of Labor and Industry and/or Occupational Safety and Health, as they cover employees, not private citizens or children. Best management practices, green building and green cleaning are some of the resources available to achieve better indoor air quality in office buildings.
The EPA developed a comprehensive “Tools for Schools” kit. This kit is available on the EPA website and can be used by school facilities managers to create an effective indoor air quality program. Washington State University took EPA’s kit and streamlined it into a user-friendly checklist.
- American Lung Association of Washington
- EPA’s Basic Information About Indoor Air Quality
- California Air Resources Board/ Indoor Air Quality and Personal Assessment
- Washington State Department of Health/ Indoor Air Quality
- Northwest Clean Air Agency/Indoor Air Quality
- Health Indoor Air for America’s Homes Project