Experts encourage US states to create legislation aimed at improving indoor air quality in public spaces using new model state act as framework
August 21, 2023 – Good indoor air quality (IAQ) is crucial for our health. Improving IAQ can mitigate the spread of airborne infectious diseases—including COVID-19, influenza, measles, and RSV— and help reduce chronic conditions like asthma, lower the risk of certain cancers, and prevent cognitive impairment. To improve IAQ, buildings need enhanced air filtration, ventilation, system maintenance, and surveillance. However, these measures are not widely implemented in public spaces, and when they are, the IAQ levels of specific buildings are often not posted publicly.
To close this gap, experts are calling on states across the US to improve IAQ in public spaces. To assist in that process, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, working closely with a team of legal experts led by James G. Hodge Jr., JD, LLM, from Arizona State University and a national expert advisory committee, developed a Model Clean Indoor Air Act as a legal framework for states and localities to implement legislation to allow for IAQ inspections and publicly posted monitoring results, actions that will lead to improved IAQ in public buildings.
The model act provides a comprehensive framework for states to create legislation aimed at improving IAQ by:
- Setting up a state advisory council to set standards appropriate for states' needs.
- Requiring indoor air quality be measured and the results posted publicly.
- Establishing a system for people to report health impacts potentially caused by bad air and for the state to investigate these reports and order necessary fixes.
"Everyone deserves healthy indoor air," Paula Olsiewski, PhD, a contributing scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and co-lead of the Center's IAQ project team. "This model act gives states the tools to ensure that the air in public buildings is safe for people to breathe, whether the most urgent concern is airborne diseases, wildfire smoke, or asthma. Healthy air is an achievable goal that will have positive effects on health as well as on productivity."