Bureau Veritas backs measures to cut indoor air pollution amid NICE guidance
Sep. 20 2019
Responding to recent guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on indoor air pollution, Bureau Veritas is backing measures aimed at improving air quality in the home, welcoming an increased government focus on the issue.
It comes as a recent study found that the air in our homes may be three times more polluted than outdoors, due to particles from cooking fumes, candles, wood-burners and even outdoor pollution from trains and other transport becoming trapped inside.
As such, earlier this year NICE published draft guidelines on how to reduce exposure to indoor air pollution aimed at the general public as well as local authorities, public health and construction professionals. The guidance advises people to ensure rooms are well ventilated, by opening windows or using extractor fans, particularly when cooking or using household sprays or solvents and paints.
In addition, architects and builders are being urged to adopt a ‘whole-building’ approach to heating and ventilation in their designs in order to minimise exposure to particulate matter – including measures such as situating windows away from sources of outdoor air pollution and using building materials that emit low levels of formaldehyde and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs).
According to air quality expert Bureau Veritas, the NICE guidelines reflect the commitments outlined in the recently published Clean Air Strategy. As the UK’s flagship policy for addressing poor air quality, it calls for better labelling of products containing NMVOCs to raise public awareness on the harmful effects of a build-up of such pollutants inside the home.
Jamie Clayton, Principal Air Quality Consultant at Bureau Veritas, explains: “As one of the greatest threats to public health, we’re glad to see the increased government focus on addressing poor air quality, particularly indoor air pollution – which has traditionally been overlooked.
“Changing the public and industry behaviour in tackling poor air quality is a central tenet of the Clean Air Strategy, so it’s no surprise that the NICE guidelines reflect this, and we agree that many of these measures should be adopted as an incremental step forward in addressing indoor air pollution.”
Bureau Veritas is also advising local authorities and construction professionals to take heed of the new guidelines, which although voluntary at this stage are likely to inform any future regulatory regime on air pollution.
Jamie adds: “In the past, the government has been mindful of avoiding over-legislation in the way we live our lives and the choices we make. However, given the focus of the NICE guidelines in encouraging local authorities to raise public awareness on this issue, the effectiveness of this guidance and the Clean Air Strategy has the potential to inform any future legislation.
“Hence, our advice to local authorities, public health and construction professionals is to heed this guidance and consider putting measures in place now aimed at minimising indoor air quality to ensure best practice and get ahead of any changes expected in future compliance.”
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