Indoor air pollution: volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Interior air pollution is generated by various sources intrinsic to buildings themselves, their environment, equipment and their occupants' behaviour, and many different substances may be involved. Building materials and products used in interior decoration are known to be major sources of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These pollutants make up a set of substances belonging to different chemical classes which have in common that they evaporate quite quickly at room temperature: benzene, styrene, toluene, trichloroethylene, etc. See the Agency’s work on this issue.
Glycol ethers belong to a very common group of chemical substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In October 2003, the Agency received a formal request from the Directorate General for Health and the Directorate for economic studies and environmental evaluation to implement certain provisions in the inter-ministerial action plan regarding glycol ethers, over a period of several years. The activities of the Agency within the framework of this action plan are presented below.
In order to reduce emissions of pollutants at their source, some European countries have different procedures for qualifying building products based on their emission levels in volatile pollutants. These procedures then serve to identify and promote to consumers "low emissivity" building materials and decoration products. In 2006 and 2009, the Agency published and then updated a process for qualifying emissions from building and decoration products, which was useful in developing the French regulations in this area.
Keywords : Volatile organic compounds (VOC)
Indoor air is polluted by many sources inherent in buildings, the environment or equipment. Building materials and interior decoration products are known to be non-negligible sources of emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC). Given this, some European countries, including France, have introduced different qualification procedures for building products, in order to reduce the emissions of pollutants at source. French regulations require labelling on the basis of work done by the Agency. These regulations are described below.
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