Public perception of indoor air quality in China, Belgium and France: the discovery of an invisible enemy

Perception citoyenne de la qualité de l’air intérieur en Chine, Belgique et France : chronique de la découverte d’un ennemi invisible

Laurence Bedeau
Partner in the consulting firm ELABE

Having remained relatively unrecognized by public opinion until the early 2000s, indoor air pollution is now seen by a majority of French, Belgian and also Chinese residents as the probable cause of symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, and health problems in general. However, the lack of information on indoor air quality in frequently visited enclosed spaces (private premises, workplaces and common areas, transportation) often leads to subjective diagnoses, exacerbated by the diffi culty in identifying the sources of indoor air pollution.

Nevertheless, it must be regarded as a public health issue, as refl ected by growing anxiety among parents about the quality of the air their children breathe inside school buildings, for example. In this context, more robust legislation and standards are considered indispensable in ensuring better prevention and risk assessment.