The "Indoor Air Package" Program
Posted by Jamie on Wednesday, October 29, 2008
According to an October article in Indoor Environment Connections, an initiative to improve indoor air quality is set to launch in 2009. Already in use in five states, the package is designed to ensure that energy efficiency is improved without sacrificing health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will give homes a seal of approval if they use certain building techniques to protect against radon, pests, and pollutants. This program will greatly reduce the lead, chemicals, mold, allergens and pests in new homes. According to Tom Kelly, the director of the EPA’s indoor air program, the new program builds on the EPA’s 1992 Energy Star initiative that promotes efficient electrical appliances.

The first national summit on improving air quality in new homes was hosted in Baltimore by four difference federal agencies. This Healthy Homes Conference presented several studies that showed how the improved building methods lowered the risk of asthma and other health problems. The studies were done in Cleveland, New Orleans, and Seattle. The three day summit drew more than a thousand participants interested in building a consensus among builders, health advocates, and environmentalists. This summit underscores the improvement of indoor air quality as an emerging political and health issue for many Americans.

One area where improvements in new home construction has been seen is in the use of lead. According to Jon Gant, an official with the Housing and Urban Development Office, the number of kids with lead poisoning fell from 890,000 in 1992 to 310,000 in 2002. He went on to say that the techniques used to lower the number of cases of lead poisoning can be used to help tackle other health and environmental issues. The “Indoor Air Package” program is a big step in the fight to improve the air we breathe in new houses and buildings.

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