A cooperative agreement program announced in late 2010 disseminated $2.4 million to local government, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations for “demonstration, training, education, and/or outreach projects that seek to reduce exposure to indoor air pollutants” and that would yield measurable results (EPA, 2010c).
EPA’s Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program was initiated in 1995 to evaluate environmental technologies and make them readily available for the mass market for the benefit of the general public (EPA, 2011a). One of its main goals is to standardize testing among different companies and products. One such standardization was of the accuracy of technology that tests building pressure to determine whether contaminants in buildings are due to vapor intrusion or to other product emissions (ETV, 2010). Another initiative investigates microorganism-resistant building material for mold resistance, emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and aldehydes, and moisture content (RTI International, 2008).
EPA also partners with other federal agencies to conduct research. In collaboration with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), EPA conducted a national survey that measured allergens, including mold, and pesticides in homes (Stout et al., 2009). The data have since been used to examine the indoor environment and potential health risks to occupants. It also cochairs the Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality with four other federal agencies.3 This committee coordinates research and facilitates communication on indoor-air topics, including excessive dampness, mold, ventilation, emissions from building materials, and “green buildings.”
National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the principal biomedical research arm of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It conducts and sponsors investigations on a broad array of health topics and fosters both basic and applied research. Climate-change–related work at NIH falls principally under the aegis of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which holds primary responsibility for conducting and funding environmental health research. In 2010, that institute released the results of an effort by the Interagency Working Group
3 The committee’s Web site notes that “the CIAQ is co-chaired by EPA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Department of Energy, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Other federal departments and agencies participate as members” (EPA, 2010a).