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UV-radiation, noise, indoor exposure, electromagnetic fields (UNIE)


Specific Objectives

Specific Objectives in 2002
- to develop, improve, evaluate/ validate of methods and instrumentation for measuring human exposure and providing a basis for reference data at EU level.

The focus is:
- to measure exposure concentrations, including exposure measurements to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), at the point of contact between the human receptor and the physical and chemical pollution and to help define the important and critical routes of exposure;
- to participate in CEN/CENELEC standardisation activities and to contribute to tobacco regulation issues (registration and assessment of tobacco additives, evaluation of ISO standards for tobacco smoke);
- to evaluate science and policy issues related to human exposure;
- to characterise the chemical, physical and biological stressors encountered by humans and to describe and to model the relationship of that exposure in space and time;
- to assess the impact of materials, furnishing and products on human exposure in commercial, residential and occupational environments;
- to optimise abatement according to effectiveness or society benefits for sustainable development;
- to construct integrated decision tools for the reduction and abatement of physical and chemical exposure.
Planned Deliverables

Deliverables in 2002

Specific deliverables to DGs:
- Report on strategies to evaluate the impact of indoor air pollution on human exposure;
- Labelling schemes for material emissions (low emitting, non -toxic for the use in indoor environments)
- Mapping of UV-B exposure for the last 15 years in Europe;
- Compilation of total column ozone and UV-B data; set up of the European Reference Centre for UV Measurements;
- Report on the inter-comparison of models for environmental noise;
- Set up of the European Reference Laboratory for EMF measurements; interim report of the "pan-European study on EMF exposure from GSM/GPRS/UMTS base stations";
- Preliminary Results on Exposure Measurements within the ADA project.

As a result of the research:
- Report on the testing (in the INDOORTRON facility) of novel, environmentally friendly photo-catalytic materials for indoor/outdoor applications to reduce exposure to chemical pollutants.

Summary of 2001 Deliverables: 31/12/2001

The deliverables listed below were achieved in the frame of the Integrated Air Quality Assessment (IAQA) project during 2001 (until August 31st). Due to the re-structuring of the JRC (taken place on September 1st) the IAQA project was split up in two parts. One part (European Reference Laboratory for Air Pollution - ERLAP and the ISPRA EMEP station) has been transferred to the already existing project CORSE of the new unit Emissions and Health, and the climate change unit respectively. The second part including indoor exposure, UV measurements and noise together with exposure-based assessments from electromagnetic fields makes the basis for the new project UNIE. (See deliverables below).

Position paper on Ambient Air Pollution by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)-July 27th, 2001- prepared by the Working Group on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons for the Directorate General of the Environment.

The European Collaborative Action (ECA) Report No. 23 on "Identification of risk sub-groups in non-industrial indoor environments" (currently in print).

Mid-status report on "Comparison among existing computation methods for prediction of road traffic and railway noise".

Workshop on Quality Assurance/Quality Control in Laboratories Performing Deposition Analyses for Atmospheric Pollutants ( in the frame of the Pan-European Programme of Intensive Monitoring of Forest Ecosystems- May 14-16, 2001- in collaboration with DG AGRI ).

Output Indicators and Impact

- European standard methods of measurement and product specification.
- Contribution to the Commission's policy for the mitigation and reduction of exposures to toxic pollutants;
- Formulation and implementation of directives related to environmental noise;
- Formulation and implementation of directives related to electromagnetic fields;
- Central role in the European perspective on standardisation of UV data;
- Development and testing of new building materials with consumer-friendly properties to be applied in indoor/ outdoor environments.
Summary of the project

The UNIE project concentrates several activities of the former JRC-44 IAQA project in addition to some new activities in electromagnetic fields. The main objective is the development, validation, harmonisation and standardisation of assessment methods and models for quantifying total human exposure to stressors. These methods and models are the most critical tools needed in exposure estimates and risk assessment within current and future EU policies regarding the environmental and health impact of stressors, including chemical, biological and physical agents (noise, UV radiation, and electromagnetic fields). The work is being carried out in dedicated laboratories specialised on the different types of exposure pathways and stressors. These are being developed to act in their respective areas as Reference Laboratories at EU level to improve the currently achievable quality, representative ness and comparability of measured data related to consumer and occupational exposure:

See also the related EU enlargement process pre-accession (pa) project.


Population exposure to environmental stressors strongly affects well being and increases health risk. One of the fundamental aims of the European Treaty is to ensure a high level of protection of the European citizens. This gives the JRC a clear mandate to accurately evaluate the risk of European citizens deriving from the exposure to chemicals, biological and physical environmental stressors. In order to develop good policies the Commission needs sound scientific knowledge on occurrence and nature, source strengths, and dispersion of these stressors.

In the frame of the UNIE project human exposure is seen as a holistic approach, which includes estimates and assessment of indoor exposures due to the impact of chemicals (e.g. VOC), biological (e.g. funghi, moulds) and physical agents (e.g. UV, noise, EMF-indoor/outdoor) as the basis for the development and implementation of:
- common measurement methods and protocols;
- common exposure models and;
- exposure guidelines.

Chemicals and Biological Contaminants:

Exposure estimates and assessment are carried out using advanced instrumentation and facilities (INDOORTRON) and through the execution of pilot studies in indoor environments at European level. Current focus on air exposure and indoor air quality will be progressively complemented by activities on other exposure routes for substances released from products throughout the whole life cycle.

Environmental Noise:

The principal focus is the establishment of a reference laboratory (operational within 2002) for the validation and harmonisation of measuring methods for noise, from road, railway traffic and industrial sites. Measuring campaigns for model inter-comparison and validation are planned. A Europe-wide network has been established.

UV- Radiation:

The UV monitoring activity will be expanded with a strong effort to develop quality control methodologies and procedures to increase the accuracy of UV measurements. In this frame the development of the European Reference Laboratory for UV measurements has been started.

Electromagnetic Fields:

The focus is on measuring human exposure from all different EMF sources, including base stations, mobile telephony hand-sets, electro-domestic appliances. The activity started in September 2001 with the establishment of an expert network and the planning of a pan-European study on EMF exposure from GSM/GPRS/UMTS base stations. An equipped laboratory is expected to become operational at the end of 2002.


Institute for Environment and Sustainability