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Assessing and managing indoor air quality

Target 2.2: Indoor air quality – Help protect the health of Canadians by assessing indoor air pollutants and developing guidelines and other tools to better manage indoor air quality.

Risk assessments were conducted and new Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines were developed for priority indoor pollutants toluene and fine particulate matter, including recommendations on how to reduce exposure and protect health. The final Residential Indoor Air Quality Guideline for toluene was issued, and the proposed fine particulate matter guideline was published for public comment.

Canada has made investments in air quality assessment and management, including developing new Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines and other risk management activities to address indoor air pollutants. These include developing a radon health risk fact sheet for smokers, and performing a two-year survey of radon concentrations in 14,000 homes. The results of this survey indicate that approximately 7% of Canadian homes exceed the level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre, and the information is being used by stakeholders to identify and address areas of Canada more prone to high levels of radon.

Canada has also tested for radon in 2,000 federal buildings and applied the information to its database of indoor radon concentrations. By the end of 2012–2013, it is expected that more than 10,000 federal buildings will have been tested for radon.

Indoor air pollutants were also a primary focus of the "Hazardcheck: Hazards in your Environment" marketing and outreach campaign, which provided Canadians with advice on how to reduce their exposure to mould, carbon monoxide and radon. In addition, the government developed and implemented a health promotion campaign to enhance public awareness and knowledge of mould issues among First Nations.

For additional information on the implementation strategies and initiatives that support this target, please consult the following websites: Health Canada and National Research Council Canada.

Progress towards Target 2.2: Health-based assessments of priority indoor air -pollutants and associated management tools

In 2011, risk assessments were completed for naphthalene (a volatile organic compound released from some consumer products) and Legionella (a bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease, a rare and sometimes severe type of pneumonia).

Risk assessments were conducted and new Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines were developed for priority indoor pollutants toluene and fine particulate matter, including recommendations on how to reduce exposure and protect health. The final Residential Indoor Air Quality Guideline for toluene was issued, and the proposed fine particulate matter guideline was published for public comment. These residential indoor air quality guidelines join those previously issued for mould, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, ozone and radon.


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