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Public Health (13-06-2007)

Scientific committee suggests further research into possible indoor air pollutants

Available data on indoor air risk assessment are limited, according to an EU scientific committee, which highlights the need for further research into possible indoor air pollutants as chemicals for intended use or unintentional emissions, radon, particles, microbes, pets, pests etc. The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), in its opinion on indoor air risk assessment, provides a comprehensive examination of the types of potential health risks that may be anticipated in various indoor environments.
The opinion, published today, covers indoor environments where the general public may be exposed to pollutants and identifies a number of factors -including chemicals in products, particles, microbes, humidity, pets and pests in the indoor environment- that can affect well-being and health. The opinion suggests that the health risk assessment of the pollutants in indoor environments should be done according to the standard principles of chemical risk assessment in the EU (assessing both inherent properties and exposure) and recommends addressing vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, elderly persons over 65 years of age and persons suffering from asthma or other respiratory and cardiovascular diseasesby applying a case-by-case approach.
In short, SCHER members consider that identifying and evaluating all relevant sources of indoor air pollution is the most sensible approach to reducing human exposure to these pollutants and the best way to protect human health.
 
For further information on the opinion, please visit:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scher/docs/scher_o_055.pdf