Annual Report 2017

People spend 60-90% of their life in closed spaces – at home, school, the office, inside restaurants - making clean air indoors crucial for our health and wellbeing. Evidence shows that exposure to polluted air indoors causes or exacerbates allergy, and respiratory diseases, yet there is a policy gap on indoor air quality and this lack of binding rules is leaving Europeans unprotected against dirty air indoors.

In 2016, the European Commission proposed a revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) with no health recommendations. At EFA, we took this legislative piece as an opportunity to bring the patients’ perspective to the building renovation and construction sector. We called on the European Parliament to include a compulsory Indoor Air Quality Certificate in its EPBD revision, to prevent chronic respiratory diseases such as allergy, asthma and COPD, reduce premature deaths and guarantee the right to have clean air in indoor spaces for everyone.

Several forward thinking MEPS from the health (ENVI) and industry (ITRE) committees took into consideration EFA’s asks, and proposed amendments to set up the certificate as an obligatory and reliable source of information and control of indoor air quality in the European Union. The European Parliament did not back the idea of the certificate, but included in its text indoor air quality considerations, such as establishing inspections for air conditioning and ventilation systems in European buildings, and encouraging healthy indoor climate conditions in buildings under renovation.

Inhabitants do not have a clear advocate within the EU so at EFA, alongside with the very few organisations that got mobilised to include air quality and health considerations in the EPBD, we will continue voicing the needs of the patients. We hope that our advocacy for healthier closed spaces will be the seed for a true EU Indoor Air Quality strategy, which will ultimately result in better health for patients with asthma, allergy and COPD in Europe.