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IAQ Tribal Partners Program

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Other Pollutants

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are potentially dangerous carbon-containing compounds that evaporate in the form of gas at room temperature. VOCs can be emitted from a variety of different household chemicals and materials including paints and lacquers, paint thinners or paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, and glues and adhesives. A variety of chemicals are considered VOCs, and some have short- and long-term adverse health effects. The EPA has found concentrations of VOCs in indoor air to be 2 to 5 times greater than in outdoor air. During certain activities, indoor levels of VOCs may reach 1,000 times that of the outside air.

Exposure to VOCs can cause mild to severe health effects which include eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system, and in some cases, cancer. The severity of these effects depends on many things, including the type and amount of the chemical and the length of exposure. Key signs or symptoms that may indicate harm from exposure to VOCs include eye irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, difficult or painful breathing, memory impairment, decline of certain enzymes in the blood, nausea, vomiting, nose bleeds, fatigue, and dizziness.

EPA's Indoor airPLUS Program

learn about Indoor airPLUS
Homebuyers today are increasingly concerned about the indoor air quality of their homes. The Indoor airPLUS Program is a partnership between EPA, builders, raters, utilities, and public health and indoor environmental organizations to improve indoor air in new homes. Homes with the Indoor airPLUS label are designed for improved indoor air quality compared to a home built to minimum code and include more than 30 additional home design and construction features to help protect homes from moisture and mold, pests, combustion gases, and other airborne pollutants.

Spotlight: Inter-Tribal Environmental Council

The Inter-Tribal Environmental Council (ITEC) exiting EPA collaborated with various tribes and EPA’s Region VI office to develop a tribal fine particulate (PM2.5) network, to conduct air monitoring for VOCs and other pollutants at eight tribal sites throughout Oklahoma. As a result, PM2.5 monitoring sites were set-up for the Cherokee Nation, Cheyenne-Arapaho, Delaware in Western Oklahoma, Pawnee, Ponca, Quapaw, Sac & Fox Nation and Seminole tribes. ITEC chose sites based on the state's existing monitors and the tribes' interest in participating. Currently, four of these tribes manage and operate their own monitoring sites. Other initiatives of this program include taking inventory of major and minor air pollution sources for the ITEC member tribes and providing technical assistance and training to the member tribes for various aspects of clean air.

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Tribal Materials

Hands-on Indoor Air Quality Training For Tribal Professionals - The American Lung Association Health House program is training Native American housing directors, environmental professionals, and public health professionals how to make healthier decisions when building new homes and remediating existing homes.

The American Lung Association of Alaska Indoor Air Quality Toolkit - The "Healthy Breathing Begins at Home Indoor Air Quality Toolkit" includes a checklist for your use in a home walk-through to identify potential pollutant sources or risks.

EPA Materials

  • EPA General IAQ Information
  • Care for Your Air: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality - This brochure provides quick and simple overview of some key indoor air pollutants including radon, secondhand smoke, asthma triggers, volatile organic compounds, molds and combustion pollutants. The brochure unfolds into a poster that features action steps to improving indoor air.
  • IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit - The Action Kit shows schools how to carry out a practical plan to improve indoor air problems at little- or no-cost using straightforward activities and in-house staff.
  • Volatile Organic Carbon (VOCs) - General information on VOCs and their effects on indoor air quality.
  • Indoor airPLUS Program - Information on the partnership between EPA, builders, raters, utilities, and public health and indoor environmental organizations to improve indoor air in new homes with the Indoor airPLUS label.

You can order EPA publications free of charge from EPA's National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP), visit their Website at www.epa.gov/nscep, or call 1-800-490-9198.

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We want your input

Have you planned a successful and sustainable community program? If so, we would like to know. Please send us an e-mail at iaqtribal@epa.gov describing the program, and that program could be highlighted here. We will follow up with the program directly to gather more information and permission to use their story.

Asthma Triggers Carbon Monoxide Community Programs Directory of Tribal Champions Innovative Tribal Programs Learn about IAQ Working with the Media Moisture/Mold Other Pollutants Radon Programs in Schools Secondhand Smoke Wood Smoke Indoor Air Quality

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