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Indoor Air Quality

 

About this Publication on Indoor Air Quality

  1. Source for this Publication
  2. The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER)
  3. Background to the SCHER opinion
  4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCHER

1. Source for this Publication

The texts quoted in Level 3 are directly sourced from " Opinion on risk assessment on indoor air quality", an opinion produced in 2007 by the SCHER (Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks) of the European Commission.

The Levels 1 & 2 were written by Dr. Marisa Fernandez in collaboration with the GreenFacts editorial team and the DG Health and Consumers of the European Commission.

This publication is produced by GreenFacts under a contract from the DG Health & Consumers of the European Commission.

2. The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER)

The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks is one of three independent non-food scientific committees that advise the European Commission on matters of consumer safety, public health and the environment.

The committee was set up in 2004 to provide the European Commission with scientific advice on health and environmental risks. It replaced the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE).

SCHER addresses questions relating to examinations of the toxicity and ecotoxicity of chemicals, biochemicals and biological compound whose use may have harmful consequences for human health and the environment.

In particular, the Committee addresses questions related to new and existing chemicals, the restriction and marketing of dangerous substances, biocides, waste, environmental contaminants, plastic and other materials used for water pipe work (e.g. new organics substances), drinking water, indoor and ambient air quality. It addresses questions relating to human exposure to mixtures of chemicals, sensitisation and identification of endocrine disrupters.

The SCHER complies with the principles of independence, transparency and confidentiality. SCHER members therefore make a declaration of commitment to act in the public interest and a declaration of interests; requests for opinions, agendas, minutes and opinions are published; work and publications are done with regard to the need for commercial confidentiality.

For further information on the SCHER see:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scher/04_scher_en.htm 

3. Background to the SCHER opinion

The " Opinion on risk assessment on indoor air quality" was published by the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) of the European Commission on 29 May 2007 following a public consultation procedure.

The SCHER had undertaken a public consultation on the basis of a preliminary opinion. Interested parties submitted a series of comments or pertinent scientific information by 3 April 2007. The opinion draft was finalized after consideration of the comments received.

The SCHER emphasizes that the opinion covers only risk assessment principles which are recommended to be applied in indoor environments and does not cover risk management, the practical means to decrease/prevent adverse health effects.

4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCHER

To provide a basis for assessment of risks to human health from indoor air quality, and a sound scientific basis for the development and implementation of policies, the SCHER was asked in its  Opinion on risk assessment on indoor air quality:

  1. To identify a Risk Assessment Strategy to support policy on indoor air quality. The Committee is particularly asked to take into account potentially vulnerable groups of population such as children, pregnant women and elderly. The committee is also asked to consider the practicality of a risk assessment which takes into account on combined exposure and cumulative effects of specific air pollutants.
  2. To identify the adequacy of current information and data requirements for filling-in gaps on aspects such as exposure/effect and dose/response relationships, existing measurement standards and gaps in knowledge which will help to guide further research and monitoring efforts.
  3. To consider risks associated with the use of air fresheners: SCHER has given a separate opinion on this point (SCHER 2006).
  4. To identify potential areas of concern in relation to:
    • specific chemical compounds taking into account the recent outcome of the INDEX report prepared by DG JRC
    • household – chemicals and other products (e.g. decorating materials, cleaners, furnishings, etc.)
    • building dampness/moisture and microbial growth (moulds, bacteria)

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