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FP6

ENVIE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 502671
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Portugal

Assessing the safety of indoor air quality

National and EU air quality policies have until now focused on limiting outdoor environmental concentrations for particular pollutants. Recent research points to the importance of indoor exposures to air pollution, and the need to turn the attention of policymakers in that direction.
Assessing the safety of indoor air quality
The 'Co-ordination action on indoor air quality and health effects' (ENVIE) project worked to contribute a better understanding of how indoor air quality (IAQ) impacts human health. The approach was to build on the results of existing indoor air research projects and literature produced from various committees and groups over the last two decades.

A major area of focus for the EU-funded team was how policy can work to guard against the ill effects of various agents and mixtures. Given the complexity of indoor pollution sources, the development of risk reduction strategies remains a major challenge. To address the issues, ENVIE took a 'reverse' route of logic: first focusing on IAQ issues with the highest Europe-wide relevance, and ending with a shortlist of chains of indoor health-exposure sources.

This approach enabled project partners to then evaluate policy alternatives for minimising unwanted health consequences for the benefit of public health. Another activity was to identify and recommend a set of feasible IAQ policy options. Delivered in the form of a final report, the proposed policies aim at a comprehensive management strategy engaging professional bodies, institutions, governments and individuals. With a focus on building materials, specific building constructions and equipment, energy efficiency, products and maintenance and impacts of the outdoor environment, both existing and new buildings will have to meet requirements, and action will have to be taken at local as well as national levels.

ENVIE project efforts and activities contributed a unique approach to redefining IAQ guidelines. The results are currently being updated and revised in a new initiative funded by the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) and coordinated by the Joint Research Centre (JRC). They are also part of an ongoing, related World Health Organization (WHO) programme.

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