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News Releases from Region 04

Florida State University Receives EPA Funding to Improve Understanding of the Effects of Climate Change on Indoor Air Quality

Contact Information: 
Dawn Harris Young (harris-young.dawn@epa.gov)
404-562-8421, 404-562-8400

ATLANTA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. has received a $500,000 grant to improve understanding of the effects of climate change on indoor air quality. The grant is a part of EPA's continued commitment to improving America's indoor air quality by providing almost $8 million to fund nine institutions researching the impacts of climate change on indoor air quality and the resulting health effects.

"This research will help us better understand the effects of climate change on indoor air quality," said Tom Burke, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research in EPA's Office of Research and Development and the Agency's Science Advisor. "Gaining a better understanding of the interaction between air quality, climate, and energy in an indoor environment will help guide the design of buildings and provide knowledge to respond effectively to changes in indoor air quality that will better protect human health."

The research project, "Indoor Environment and Emergency Response Health Outcomes," will look at the relationship between indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity and the built environment, the link between indoor air temperature, humidity and extreme conditions of heat and cold. The data collected can help project future extreme heat disease burdens or influenza risk related to climatic and demographic changes. The study results aims to improve the health status of vulnerable populations and create adaptation strategies to these projected changes.

Grants have been awarded to the following universities:

University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colo.

Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fl.

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Ill.

Harvard College, Boston, Mass.

Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Miss.

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.

Portland State University, Portland, Ore.

University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.
Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.

Americans spend the majority of their time indoors and the impacts from a variety of indoor environmental pollutants and sources of pollution, including radon, mold and moisture, secondhand smoke, indoor wood smoke, and environmental asthma triggers are well documented. The connection between climate change and indoor air quality, however, is not well understood. Poor indoor environmental quality creates health problems and climate change may worsen existing indoor environmental problems and introduce new ones.

Climate change has the potential to affect human health in indoor environments directly through a number of variables. Some of these include changes in temperature extremes, changes in infiltration and ventilation, changes in outdoor and indoor allergen levels, pesticide use, and extreme weather. These changes are especially significant for vulnerable populations including children, those with certain medical conditions, and older people.

By understanding how climate impacts the quality of indoor air, this research can be used to help avoid the potential negative impacts of climate change and support a healthy indoor environment where most people spend their time.

For more information on the grant recipients:

For more information on other EPA's indoor air research: www.epa.gov/iaq/climatereadiness/index.html

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