A growing number of people suffer a range of debilitating physical reactions from exposures to everyday materials and chemicals found in building products, floor coverings, cleaning products, and fragrances, among others. There are those who have developed an acute sensitivity to various types of chemicals, a condition known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). The range and severity of reactions are as varied as the potential triggering agents. In addition, there are others who report reactions from exposures to electrical devices and frequencies, a condition referred to as Electro-Magnetic Sensitivity (EMS).
In response to these concerns, the Board sponsored a study on ways to improve indoor environmental quality for people with MCS and EMS as well as for the population generally. Conducted for the Board by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), this project brought together various stakeholders to explore issues and to develop an action plan. A copy of the resulting report is now available on the NIBS website at http://ieq.nibs.org. While the project was focused on commercial and public buildings, many of the issues addressed and recommendations offered are applicable in residential settings. The report includes recommendations on improving indoor environmental quality that address building products, materials, ventilation, and maintenance.
A panel organized to serve as a steering committee for the project included representation from MCS and EMS organizations, experts on indoor environmental quality, and representatives from the building industry. Panel members explored various strategies for collecting and disseminating information, selecting focus areas, increasing awareness of the issues involved, broadening participation in the project, developing recommendations for best practices, and identifying potentialpartners for further study and outreach.
Indoor Environmental Quality Project Steering Committee
MCS & EMS Representatives
• Ann McCampbell, M.D., Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Task Force of New Mexico
• Mary Lamielle, National Center for Environmental Health Strategies
• Susan Molloy, National Coalition of the Chemically Impaired
• Toni Temple, Ohio Network for the Chemically Injured
Indoor Environmental Quality Experts
• Nicholas A. Ashford, Ph.D., J.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Mark C. Jackson, Lennox Industries, Inc.
• Claudia S. Miller, M.D., M.S., University of Texas Health Sciences Center
• Bruce M. Small, P.E., Georgetown, Ontario
• James Wasley, University of Wisconsin
Building Industry Representatives
• Ron Burton, Building Owners and Managers Association
• William Dean, Associated General Contractors of America
• Harry Gordon, FAIA, American Institute of Architects
• Brent Kynoch, Kynoch Environmental Management, Inc.
• Roger Morse, AIA, Morse Zehnter Associates