Taking too long? Close loading screen.
General

Air pollution – COVID-19 – Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) (GEN – 1199.00)

20 January 2021

3 min read
European Policy
General

Air pollution – COVID-19 – Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) (GEN – 1199.00)

20 January 2021

3 min read

GEN – 1199.00. This study was published on 13 January 2021 and, while addressing and advocating policies to address the impact of air pollution on diseases, it also deals with Indoor Air Quality and questions such as if ventilation standards, mainly based on CO2 concentrations, would still be enough.

Air pollution and COVID-19

The subtitle to the 64-page report reads ‘Including elements of air pollution in rural areas, indoor air pollution, vulnerability and resilience aspects of our society against respiratory disease, social inequality stemming from air pollution’.

Abstract study: 2.2.10. Methods to improve indoor air quality

In principle, the most effective method to improve indoor air quality is to remove/replace the individual emission sources. A reduction in outdoor air pollution will reduce indoor pollution as a flow-on effect. Taking actions to reduce indoor/outdoor ventilation (e.g. closing windows) may play a role in reducing indoor pollution levels; however, household ventilation is a useful strategy for removing indoor pollutants so it is important to remember that this will also prevent the out-flow of pollution generated indoors and as such is a limited solution.

The role of proper ventilation of indoor spaces as a means to reduce exposure to SARS-CoV-2 has received considerable attention. Existing ventilation standards are mostly designed to prevent high CO2 concentrations from happening in indoor spaces. CO2 is produced by normal breathing and has long served as an indicator for perception of stale air caused by human body odours, personal care products and the like. It is unclear whether existing ventilation standards are sufficient to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections from spreading as this also depends on how many infected persons are present and how much virus is being shed by them.

There are several commercial air purifiers available for purchase, many of which are relatively effective at removing particulate material from the indoor space. In regions where high levels of pollution are unavoidable (e.g. heavily polluted areas in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) or regions prone to high outdoor pollution from wildfires) these devices may play an important role in improving indoor air quality. However, the effectiveness of these devices varies widely by design and type and are generally unable to clear gaseous compounds from the air, limiting their overall role in public health. Indeed, the recent WHO report on personal interventions concluded that such individual level interventions were the least desirable in the hierarchy of interventions, especially when compared to public policies focussed on emission reduction.

Study recommendations

There are 9 recommendations focussing on human health aspects. Overall policies that protect the population from the effects of air pollution are likely to protect as well against COVID-19 deaths possibly attributable to air pollution.

Recommendation 2: In comparison to outdoor air pollution, the role of indoor air pollution continues to be undervalued. Regulation of indoor pollution has specific challenges, but no-regret policies such as aggressively discouraging smoking in the home, phase out of woodstoves and improved exhaust of cooking emissions will likely reduce the burden of respiratory and cardiovascular disease in Europe.

The recommendations stress the view that the EU ambitions to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions are vital. Another one highlights the need to consider COVID-19 outbreaks in relation to air pollution, population density and other spatial variables.

Recommended actions

This study considers the role of ventilation of indoor spaces. While very general, it may provide elements to strengthen the role of good indoor (and outdoor) air quality as vital for future policies.

Related documents and links

All related documents and articles can be found in the respective sections in the right sidebar.

Downloads

10 January 2022
  • General
The Commission has published a non-binding FAQ document to provide guidance on how to disclose Taxonomy-eligible activities and assets.
1 min read
10 December 2021
  • General
A regulation supplementing the Taxonomy Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). It specifies how to disclose information according to corporate sustainability reporting requirements.
1 min read
10 December 2021
  • General
The first delegated act of the Taxonomy Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). It contains the Technical Screening Criteria (TSC) for the first two environmental objectives.
1 min read
20 October 2021
  • General
The LIFE sub-programme Clean Energy Transition has issued a call for proposals that can qualify for grants. Three topics may be of interest to the HVACR industry. Around 30 partners are looking for collaboration to introduce a proposal by 12 January 2022....
2 min read
Search
Press "Enter" to start the search

Log in

Don't have a Eurovent Extranet account? Register here!

Newsletter

Are you interested in receiving regular updates from Eurovent? These include, for instance:

  • EU legislation and standards
  • Important WTO notifications
  • Market intelligence and statistics
  • National initiatives and actions by our Member Associations
  • Technological developments
  • Trade shows and conferences

Do you have any questions or are you interested to place your organisation’s advertisement in the next edition of CLIMANOVELA? Feel free to contact us via secretariat@eurovent.eu or +32 466 900 401.