tional center. Such mechanisms have been used to effectively coordinate action to identify information gaps, facilitate research, collect data, and catalyze work on other critical issues. An effort to establish a governmental entity to act as a coordinating body will likely require support from the administration or Congress. Nonetheless, the committee believes that consolidating and focusing indoor environmental health efforts may generate efficiencies that make it worthy of consideration and that any efforts that support collaboration in the pursuit of healthy indoor environments will produce societal benefits.

The United States is in the midst of a large experiment of its own making in which weatherization efforts, energy-efficiency retrofits, and other initiatives that affect the characteristics of interaction between indoor and outdoor environments are taking place and new building materials and consumer products are being introduced indoors with little consideration of how they might affect the health of occupants. Experience provides a strong basis to expect that some of the effects will be adverse, a few profoundly so. An upfront investment in considering the consequences of these actions before they play out and thereby avoiding problems that can be anticipated would yield benefits in health and in avoiding costs of medical care, remediation, and lost productivity.


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IOM (Institute of Medicine). 1988. The future of public health. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

IOM. 2004. Damp indoor spaces and health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

NRC (National Research Council). 2010a. Advancing the science of climate change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

NRC. 2010b. Informing an effective response to climate change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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