Indoor air pollution: UK doctors to research impact on children's health

Indoor air pollution: UK doctors to research impact on children's health

Speaking on 14 February at the Healthy Building conference in London, Stephen Holgate, chair of the RCPCH's indoor air quality working group and professor of immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton, said it will be the world's first comprehensive study of its kind.

The study will take a holistic look at all factors of indoor air pollution, including chemicals exposure from construction materials and household products. A section within the study will analyse the need for more companies to declare what substances are contained in products and materials, something that others in the academic community have called for.

Its aim is to raise awareness of the issues affecting the health of children exposed to indoor air pollution and to quickly develop evidence-based solutions focused on:

improving the health of children;
reducing the consequences of exposure in childhood;
influence the renovation of current housing stock, and the planning and building of new homes in order to mitigate risk;
using existing and novel systems and technology to further mitigate exposure; and
highlight potential effects of climate change.
The idea for the study comes from a workshop held in April last year, which included representatives from industry, academia and government. The workshop highlighted the need to strengthen understanding of the relationship between indoor air pollution exposure and health impacts, identify solutions to help tackle and reduce indoor generated air pollution and communicate this information clearly to the public.

The issue was also raised in a report released last year by the RCP and RCPCH, which said that indoor air pollution is "often overlooked" and that "a coordinated effort is required to develop and apply any necessary policy changes".

"This report, if properly done over the next 18 months, will have a huge public effect, especially as we have Brexit coming over the horizon and regulations will be considered."

In closing his speech, Professor Holgate made a call for funding and urged industry organisations and companies to come forward. The project has raised £55,000 (€62,000) but needed further contributions.

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