According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution caused 7 million premature deaths in 2012, including the deaths of 600 000 people in Europe. A significant proportion of the EU population is exposed to high air pollution levels, especially inside buildings. Indoor air pollutants can cause cancer, asthma, allergies and other health impacts. Most European citizens spend over 90 % of their time in an enclosed or semi-enclosed environment.
Indoor air pollution is a complex issue because of the number of different factors involved, including the interaction between indoor and outdoor air, emissions from buildings and their contents (paints, furniture, heating and cooling systems etc) and human activities (cooking, cleaning etc.).
The most dangerous indoor air pollutants include formaldehyde and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes). Exposure threshold values have been defined for benzene (5 g/m3) and formaldehyde (30 g/m3).
The goal of LIFE SMART INAIR was to develop a new generation of formaldehyde and BTEX analysers in order to monitor and improve indoor air quality that are five times smaller than those currently on the market. It would also develop a new portable calibration system. Data collected by the analysers would be made available to allow experts to assess and compare the effects of pollutant exposure on health. By identifying the sources of pollution the project would be able to test the impact of implementing actions and best practices to reduce or eliminate them.
Because of the wide range of factors that contribute to indoor air quality, this project would support the implementation of a number of EU policies that contribute to safe, healthy and sustainable buildings, including legislation on buildings, equipment and ventilation (such as the Construction Products Regulation and the Paints Directive), consumer products (e.g. REACH) and outdoor air (Air Quality Directive).
The project was terminated prematurely and could therefore not deliver the foreseen results and impacts.