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NYC Considers IAQ Regulations

Smoke from Canadian wildfires has made adoption of the legislation more urgent.

July 19, 2023

According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), courtesy of the Manhattan Borough President website, officials in New York City are considering with more haste indoor air quality (IAQ) regulations that have been in the works for almost a year.                         

Two bills being submitted on Thursday would oblige the city to create, within 18 months, standards that measure, monitor, report, and enforce air quality inside schools and municipal buildings.

Two more bills being introduced would initiate five-year pilot programs to analyze air quality inside residential and commercial buildings. While these programs would be mostly voluntary, any owners of such buildings who receive financial assistance from the city would be required to participate. Recommendations for permanent standards for these buildings would be forthcoming, following the passing of the legislation.

Initially, these bills—worked on for nearly a year by its drafters, Manhattan borough president Mark Levine and city council member Keith Powers—were prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the smoky haze and accompanying air quality alerts that have plagued the city since early June due to more than 400 active Canadian wildfires have created added urgency, WSJ reports.

“The way [the smoke] impacted New York was a reminder that air quality is a health issue,” Levine told WSJ.

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