Poor Air Quality can reduce cognitive functioning, lifespans and the techniques to improve air quality are also useful for getting rid of aerosolized respiratory pathogens. Improving air quality can be an impactful global health intervention. Many members of the LessWrong community have also put effort into improving the air quality of their own homes or offices, as an implication of instrumental rationality.
Newer Green buildings are infamous among those who care about this topic for being excellently sealed, meaning that they have less interchange with outside air. This is good for energy efficiency, but bad for indoor air quality.
The Carbon Dioxide Debate
Mostly when people talk about air quality, they’re talking about particulates and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). However, some studies have tried to look at carbon dioxide alone, and have found large effects on cognition. It is this wiki author’s belief that better studies have failed to find anything close to the size of the original effect, if anything.[2:1]
Air Pollution on the Effective Altruism Forum
Collection of studies by Patrick Collison on air pollution and cognition
Alexander Berger on the 80,000 Hours Podcast (link goes to transcript or audio)
Eight Hundred Slight Poisoned Word Games by Scott Alexander