Working towards healthy air in dwellings in Europe

Authors


E. Valovirta, MD
Turku Allergy Center
Kotkankatu 2
FIN-20610 Turku
Finland

Abstract

Poor indoor air quality has been implicated in the increase in allergic and respiratory diseases seen in industrialized countries in recent decades. Although air pollution in the workplace is well studied, much less is known about the consequences of poor air quality in homes. In an attempt to halt or slow down the increase in allergic and respiratory diseases, the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations (EFA) carried out the EU-funded project entitled ‘Towards Healthy Air in Dwellings in Europe’ (THADE). The aims were to: compile an overview of evidence-based data about exposure to indoor air pollution and its health effects, particularly in relation to allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; review cost-effective measures and technology to improve indoor air quality; review legislation and guidelines on indoor air pollution; produce maps of pollutants in dwellings; and recommend an integrated strategy that defines appropriate indoor air quality policies for implementation in Europe. This paper summarizes the information about air quality in dwellings and indoor environment-related diseases collected by expert consultants within the framework of THADE and terminates with recommendations for actions aimed at improving air quality in homes. The results of this project confirmed that air pollution in dwellings is a relevant health problem. It is a complex problem that must be addressed at European and international levels, and it involves the medical profession, scientific societies, patients’ organizations, lawmakers, architects and the building industry. The complete THADE report is available at http://www.efanet.org/activities/documents/THADEReport.pdf.

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