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Public knowledge about IAQ woefully lacking finds study

Research commissioned by environmental solutions company  finds very low awareness of indoor air quality issues

Research commissioned by environmental solutions company Veolia has found that nearly three quarters of the public either claim not to know “much”, or anything at all about indoor air quality. But at the same time, the YouGov poll of 2025 respondents found that a similar percentage want the government to develop IAQ guidelines for all public buildings.

Veolia said it has been monitoring and studying indoor air at a global level for over a decade, and out of the hundreds of buildings it has audited, over 80 per cent have required some corrective action.

The online survey found 72 per cent of Brits confirming they know very little or nothing on indoor air quality and its effects, depite coming at a time when poor indoor air quality will contribute to 20,000 premature deaths in Britain every year, Veolia said.

Following the survey, Veolia has called on the Government to refine its indoor air quality regulatory guidance, aligned to the World Health Organisation’s. The firm said: “There are solutions available, but the lack of monitoring in buildings, aggravated by limited public awareness will continue to have devastating consequences on our health if we don’t act now…We can monitor, test, and remediate air quality in buildings to very safe levels - potentially paying for the clean up with energy savings we implement at the same time - so it doesn’t have to come at a cost”

Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer, Veolia UK & Ireland said: “Current government advice on indoor air quality is fragmented, ineffective and has been poorly enforced to date. Solutions are available to prevent further indoor air related health impacts, but only if the problem is taken seriously by policy makers and stronger guidelines are imposed. Adopting guidance on indoor air quality will be an important, immediate step in preventing a whole generation from suffering unnecessary ill-health or reduced life expectancy.”

The firm said that in its UK HQ, it is designing measures to mitigate indoor air quality issues: “A recent UK study piloting a bio synthetic CAW (clean air wall), a filtration intervention, highlighted where we can improve air quality along with other measures to improve wellbeing in offices.”

Veolia said it is able to intervene with various types of solutions, such as:

  • Reducing entry of outdoor air pollutants into the building (with specific filters and biotech)
  • Using efficient regularly maintained HVAC systems
  • Decontaminating and cleaning indoor air with stand-alone units
  • Giving advice to limit the indoor source of air pollution, such as indoor temperature and humidity control
  • Improving behaviour via awareness-raising
  • Ensuring appropriate systems operation and maintenance

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