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Public Health (21-02-2007)

Commission launches consultation process on indoor air quality

The European Commission and the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) launched today a consultation process on indoor air quality. The process will run until 3 April 2007.
On January 30 2007, the SCHER adopted a preliminary report on the risk assessment of indoor air quality to provide the Commission with a sound scientific basis for developing and implementing policies on indoor air. The opinion covers indoor environments where the general public may be exposed to pollutants, such as private homes and public buildings.  The committee identified a number of factors in the indoor environment that can affect well-being and health. These include chemicals in products intended for indoor use or unintentional emissions from different sources, particles, microbes, humidity, pets and pests. The SCHER also identified gaps in knowledge, especially regarding human exposure to pollutants, health effects and the impact of indoor air quality on vulnerable groups of the population.
The preliminary report recommends using the traditional approaches for toxicological risk assessment, in support of indoor air quality policy. The report further recommends that all relevant sources that are known to contribute to indoor air should be evaluated and suggests reducing exposure to protect the population from possible negative effects on health. It also identifies data requirements and gaps in knowledge regarding, in particular, human exposure to pollutants and their effect on health.
The preliminary report is published on the web and stakeholders are invited to comment through an online consultation aimed at gathering feedback on the appropriateness of current risk assessment methods for indoor air and how they can be improved.

For more information, and the online consultation, see