Legal Responses to Indoor Air Pollution

Although air pollution is generally viewed in the United States as dirty smoke spewed from heavy industries or the pervasive haze of automobile traffic, it also includes the invisible and highly dangerous pollution that is found in homes, workplaces, restaurants, and other buildings. This indoor air pollution is just as hazardous as pollutants emitted into the outdoor air, and because buildings tend to capture and concentrate emissions, it is usually found at much higher levels. This book examines the underrecognized risks of indoor air pollution and the shortcomings of regulatory and judicial responses to these risks. Focusing on the commonly understood meaning of pollution--involuntary exposure to chemicals and radiation emitted as a byproduct of economic activity--Frank Cross begins by describing the human health costs and consequences that result from indoor pollution. He analyzes the three best-known pollutants--radon, asbestos, and formaldehyde--as well as some lesser-known hazardous substances, including volatile organic compounds, electromagnetic radiation, microbes, and other pollutants. A second section synopsizes the federal and state governments' responses to these pollutants, again focusing largely on radon, asbestos, and formaldehyde. Part three explores the ability of private citizens to recover damages in court for illnesses caused by indoor pollution, from successful litigation in cases of irritant effects and asbestos removal to the difficulty of recovery for diseases such as cancer. Finally, Cross proposes future directions for government action on indoor air pollution, including new legislation, preventive resources, and additional regulation. The work concludes with a selected bibliography and a general subject index. This important study will be a valuable resource for courses in government regulation and legal issues, as well as for professionals in law firms, real estate, and government. Public and academic libraries will also find it to be a noteworthy addition to their collections.