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    Three-year project to improve indoor air quality Featured

    February 20, 2019

    The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) will formulate a set of guidelines to improve indoor air quality in an effort to minimize health impacts caused by air pollutants.The Cabinet last week approved a three-year pilot project from 2019-2021 to conduct a base study and set guidelines to improve indoor air quality, CEA Laboratory Services Deputy Director Hiranthi Jansz said. The Cabinet paper was presented by President Maithripala Sirisena in his capacity as the Mahaweli Development and Environment Minister.

    Jansz told the Daily News that the base study would be conducted in randomly selected schools, hospitals, public buildings, office buildings and houses covering the entire country and would be completed in six months.She said the previously collected data would also be used in the study. She said household wood-burning stoves, use of incense sticks, poorly maintained office air-conditioned environments and vehicle emissions are frequent instances of indoor air pollution. She pointed out that the World Health Organization has recommended preparing guidelines for indoor air quality.

    The Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) said the recent studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor level.“Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is a growing concern. Most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. The quality of indoor air is important not only for occupants’ comfort but also for their health, the ITI Environmental Technology Section said.

    “Poor indoor air quality has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble in concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Also, some specific diseases have been linked to specific air contaminants or indoor environments, like asthma with damp indoor environments. In addition, some exposures, such as asbestos do not cause immediate symptoms but can lead to cancer after many years. Poor IAQ can also lead to reduced productivity, the ITI website added.

    t added that poor ventilation (lack of outside air), problems in controlling temperature, high or low humidity, recent remodeling, and other activities in or near a building that can affect the fresh air coming into the building can lead to poor indoor air quality.

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