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Indoor air Pollution : materials for sustainable renovation also involved ?

Despite their potential effect on the health, the volatile organic compounds that contaminate the indoor air are not regulated in France.

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Indoor air Pollution : materials for sustainable renovation also involved ?

in Spite of ir potential effect on health, volatile organic compounds that contaminate indoor air are not regulated in France.

Are we condemned to having to brea stale air in our homes, even when y are renovated with materials that are more respectful of environment ? The risk is in any case a palpable, according to results of an american study published September 12 in journal Environment International.

The researchers will report data relating to quality of indoor air measured in homes in Boston area. These units, freshly rehabilitated according to standards of ecological construction, had obtained green label international LEED (Leadership in Energy and environmental Design) for energy efficiency, superior of 35 % to that of housing standards.

in Order to discern pollution from materials for renovation of one linked to mode of life of inhabitants, researchers have conducted sampling in two phases : first, in empty slots, and n after move-in of residents. From samples of air and dust, y have quantified rate of nearly 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCS) and semi-volatile (COSV), including flame-retardants, phthalates, pesticides, perfumes, solvents, chlorine and formaldehyde.

" most of buildings are designed without health of inhabitants is taken into account. However, indoor air pollution can lead to a variety of health problems, "

If presence of certain molecules in empty slots has not surprised scientists – including solvents used in paints (cyclohexanone, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), y have also detected a number of compounds whose presence is generally attributed to cleaning products and everyday objects. It was for example two benzophénones (BP and 3-BP) – of synsis filters used in sunscreens – and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), normally found in nail varnishes and perfumes. According to researchers, se substances could come out of paintings – although y are low-VOC – and finishing products of soil.

Or types of molecules detected : TCIPP and TCDIPP, two flame-retardants which emission is usually attributed to furniture and which may, in this case, come from insulation material.

It is to be noted that researchers did not include samples from homes built from materials that are not sustainable, which implies that number and concentration of pollutants can not be compared on criterion of type of housing.

According to Robin Dodson, a research scientist at Silent Spring Institute and lead author of study, " most buildings are designed without health of inhabitants is taken into account. However, indoor air pollution can lead to a variety of health problems. "

toluene and xylene, for example, are an irritant and neurotoxic, whereas some flame retardants such as TCDIPP are associated with a loss of male fertility. Data on humans and animals suggest that solar filter BP-3 could be toxic to reproduction.

The mode of life also in question

in addition, presence of formaldehyde – a substance that is biocidal and conservative, classified as a carcinogen, proven for humans by international agency for research on cancer (IARC) – has been detected both before and after moving-in of residents. The sources of contamination by this substance are indeed various : construction materials, particle boards, furniture, hygiene products, but also cigarette smoke and cooking food.

The result of or pollution molecules has been attributed specifically to mode of life of residents. This was notably case with triclosan – an antibacterial content in some hygiene products and suspected to be endocrine disruptor – or syntic perfumes.

Read also :   When furniture pollute indoor air

While national Agency of sanitary safety of food, environment and labour (Anses) said that we spend, on average, 85 % of our time in environments that are closed ", health risk related to quality of air inside could be major and made object of an increasing attention of authorities.

In France, Observatory of indoor air quality (OQAI) and scientific and technical Centre for building (CSTB) lead since 2012 a study on indoor air quality and comfort of buildings, efficient energy, including measurement of 16 VOC and 3 aldehydes, including formaldehyde. A global synsis of data, collected over a hundred buildings, is expected for 2017.

still No regulatory limits

In an expert report issued in 2011 and updated in 2016, Coves offers "guideline values for indoor air quality" (VGAI) for eleven pollutants, including formaldehyde. These indicative data, which are intended to define on a case-by-case basis health effects of exposure to chemical pollutants of indoor air, have for objective creation of a reference framework for establishment of " values, regulatory monitoring ".

difference of outside air, re is no regulatory value relative to concentrations of pollutants in indoor air of homes – except for radon, carbon monoxide, and asbestos. Only reporting, labeling of products for construction and decoration suitable for indoor use (coverings, partitions, insulation materials, etc) is mandatory, with a ranking from A + to C as a function of emission rate of ten VOC, and parameter of " total vocs ".


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