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Emissions, Exposure Patterns and Health Effects of Consumer Products in the EU [EPHECT] [20091206] - Project
General objectives

Household consumer products such as cleaning agents, air fresheners and personal care products may cause health effects by the inhalation of emitted toxic volatile organics, particles, non-volatile residues and secondary pollutants. EPHECT focuses its efforts to a better understanding of multiple exposures to primary and secondary air pollutants, emitted during typical European household uses and use patterns of relevant consumer products. The project will lead to the formulation of actions to control exposure to hazardous and other health relevant household consumer product emissions. These exposure reduction strategies will contribute to a decrease of the risk for asthma, allergies and other respiratory diseases due to household exposures. A consumer products database (BUMAC), exposure reduction guidelines, policy options and guidance in product emission testing result from EPHECT.

Strategic relevance and contribution to the public health programme

The project falls within priority area "PROMOTE HEALTH (HP-2009)","3.3.2 Promote healthier ways of life and reduce major diseases and injuries by tackling health determinants", sub action "3.3.2.9 Healthy environments". It involves 7 countries, covers the EU region, and strives to expand knowledge on the reduction of health related effects, caused by exposure to emissions due to the indoor use of consumer products. The project results will be used to tailor future information on indoor air quality to the public, maximizing its effect in motivating for protection against consumer product hazardous emissions, while minimizing other adverse health effects, thus promoting better general quality of life. The results of the study are expected to pave the road towards an efficient risk management guidance and policy options. Compliling the newly generated results with new information on the EU product use and use patterns into BUMAC will lead to currently unexplored exposure and risk data and to a valuable contribution for policy.

Methods and means

The BUMAC database is a compilation of state-of-the-art on consumer product compositions and emissions, on test chamber experimental data, exposures, risks and health end points. Research gap are identified. 6 criteria are applied to select 15 relevant consumer product classes. The European household uses and use patterns for these 15 classes are studied in a market study. The output is translated to conditions for real life emission testing experiments and exposure and health risk assessments.Experiments focus on product emission data gaps or on typical uses or use habits of relevant products of the 15 product classes. New emission rates of the key indoor pollutants and emerging indoor pollutants (primary emitted and secondary reaction products) are added to BUMAC.
Inhalation exposure in households and the associated risk is quantified by modelling (new) data on product emissions and EU use patterns. Policy makers will contribute to the formulation of risk management guidance for users and recommendations for policy-makers, taking into account the new BUMAC database.

Expected outcomes period

- Expected health promotion outcomes of EPHECT, i.e. recommendations for policy makers and risk management for users, are formulated in order to achieve intermediate health outcomes in time, when guidelines and recommendations will be implemented by European citizens.

- Expected scientific research outcomes of EPHECT include new and innovative insights on consumer product emission data, the proposal of consumer product test protocols simulating realistic EU use conditions, an extensive market survey on EU use and use patterns of consumer products, the formulation of proposals of exposure reduction strategies for consumers, manufacturers as well as policy makers, and the compilation of the BUMAC database containing existing and newly generated data on consumer products.

Details
Start date: 01/06/2010
End date: 01/10/2013
Duration: 40 month(s)
Current status: Finalised
Programme title: Second Programme of Community action in the Field of Health 2008-2013
EC Contribution: € 749 759,83