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Improving quality alone not enough to solve indoor air problems

Published : 23 May 2020, 02:19

Updated : 23 May 2020, 14:33

  DF Report

Press Release Photo by THL.

The problems of indoor air quality in buildings vary and simply improving the quality is not enough to solve the problems, according to a review of the indoor air quality in Finland published in the Lääkärilehti medical journal.

The quality of construction and operation models for solving problems are the key, said the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in a press release on Friday.

On the European scale, indoor air quality in Finland is good and the majority of the population are satisfied with it.

However, problems and symptoms associated with indoor air quality are common in Finland, especially in the workplace.

Finland has a long tradition in indoor air quality research, problem prevention and guidelines. The main principle is to prevent and reduce the health risks associated with indoor pollutants through strict regulations and to promote good construction.

However, there is still room for improvement in the prevention and resolution of indoor air-related problems and in assessing their significance for health. The attention given to people with symptoms and how to communicate with them could also be improved, said the assessment report.

“Resources must be allocated effectively to improving the quality of indoor environments and harm prevention. We need better operating models for dealing with problem situations. We are developing these in the National Indoor Air and Health Programme, together with the government’s ‘Healthy Premises 2028 Research Project,” said Research Professor Anne Hyvärinen.

People have a lot of preconceptions about indoor air quality, because the subject has been widely discussed in Finland. Based on the national indoor air population survey report published in 2019, people rated indoor air-related health risks to be greater than the research results suggest.

Strong preconceptions can contribute to worsening symptoms and making it more difficult to deal with indoor air problems and to treat patients in Finland.

“Lack of information on the health effects of indoor air can lead to conflicts between experts, healthcare professionals and building occupiers. This makes it more difficult to solve problems related to indoor air in buildings, it can worsen symptoms and also make it more difficult for patients to receive care,” said Professor Juha Pekkanen.