Ann Al-Bahish in Law360: 'Indoor Air Pollution Fix Will Require New Laws, New Tech'

May 11, 2021
In the Biden administration, environmental issues are taking center stage. President Joe Biden's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is being reshaped and reinvigorated, prioritizing climate change and reduction of air pollution.

One of Biden's first signed executive orders is telling. It discusses multiple ways to address air pollution, including reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector, establishing job-creating fuel economy standards, reducing air pollution from coal- and electric-fired utilities, and accounting for climate change.

However, "air pollution" in this context means outdoor air pollution, consistent with the EPA's regulatory powers under the Clean Air Act. The CAA authorized the development of comprehensive regulations to limit emissions from both stationary sources (e.g., industrial plants) and mobile sources (e.g., cars).

With few exceptions, the EPA does not directly regulate indoor air, and no federal agency has broad authority to regulate residential indoor air. However, comparative risk studies performed by the EPA's Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health.

Post-pandemic trends, an aging population and the "aging in place" movement portend increased exposure to residential indoor air pollutants, and more risk for a growing vulnerable population. However, safe residential air poses unique challenges, defies traditional regulation and requires a fresh, multidisciplinary approach.

Excerpted from Law360. To read the full article, click here.