The prevalence of allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases is found to have increased in the last decades. Among other factors, this trend has been related to adverse health effects of air pollution. Although some causal relations between ambient or occupational exposures and health effects have been reported, only little is known on the health risks of short and long-term exposure to indoor air pollutants.
Product emissions are major contributors to the indoor air quality in dwellings. Several international studies have reported on the occurrence of ingredients of health concern in consumer products. Emission strengths of these ingredients, secondary reactions and typical indoor uses and use patterns are main determinants of the user’s and the occupant’s exposure. The major exposure route for occupants to these air pollutants is inhalation, however, for certain ingredients or uses dermal exposure to vapours and particles might be significant as well.
EPHECT focuses on consumer products, known to be potential sources of hazardous and other health relevant air pollutants in dwellings. The main aim is to identify and quantify a set of key indoor air pollutants and emerging pollutants emitted by a selection of consumer product classes, whilst simulating typical European use conditions.
These pollutants constitute of (1) compounds prioritised by relevant international concerted actions or international organisations, such as INDEX, BUMA and WHO and (2) compounds reported in open literature as (potential) hazardous and occurring in this type of consumer products. They include gaseous and particulate matter emissions, secondary reactions and degradations of coated surfaces. The data will then contribute to develop a BUMAC (Consumer products) database on consumer product emissions.
The overall risk associated with inhalation exposure will be studied and evaluated to achieve an appropriate risk assessment, guidance and policy recommendations on exposure reduction. Special attention will be paid on susceptible populations, such as children and elderly.