Will climate change — or extreme environmentalism — hurt indoor air quality?
Climatewire reported today that:
Weatherizing buildings to increase their energy efficiency could backfire by creating new health risks for occupants, according to a new report that warns climate change and efforts to combat it could worsen indoor air quality.
“New building materials and equipment arrive on the market every day, and experience suggests that some may bring unforeseen problems of indoor environmental quality with them,” the Institute of Medicine analysis says.
Tightly sealing buildings can reduce their energy use, but altering and limiting air flow can create or worsen health risks from secondhand smoke, mold and volatile organic chemicals emitted from furnishings and building material.
“The physics is pretty clear,” said Jack Spengler, the chairman of the committee that wrote the report. “If you haven’t done anything about sources of indoor air pollution that already exist, and then you go out and deliberately tighten up homes, you have to pay attention to these issues.”
Spenger, a professor of environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health, said the potential harm from poorly thought out energy efficiency measures is one of many threats climate change poses to indoor air quality.
It’s an emerging public health problem that deserves more attention, he said, because people spend the majority of their days inside.
“Where do you think most people die from heat stroke during heat waves?” he said. “A few might be out cutting their lawn in the middle of the afternoon — maybe they’re poorly hydrated fortysomethings — but the majority are elderly, indoors.”
We’ve seen this story before. The building solution to the 1970s energy crisis — i.e., making buildings airtight — worsened indoor air (i.e., “sick building syndrome”). This occurred mostly famously at the EPA’s old headquarters in Southwest Washington, D.C. Air tight public housing no doubt contributed to childhood asthma by trapping allergens like cockroach feces.
There’s no need for health-threatening energy efficiency measures as climate alarmism is bogus and we have plenty of energy (if only the greens would let us develop and use it).
This is a great example of how a made-up problem can create a new problem.