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OFFICAIR

On the reduction

of health effects from

combined exposure

to indoor pollutants

in Modern Offices

Strategy

To achieve the overall objective of OFFICAIR, the following scientific and technical objectives have been devised, each corresponding to a specific, scientific WP envisaged by the proposal.

  • Develop a European database that will include all relevant information on indoor air pollution and its impact, in terms of concentrations, sources and emissions, exposures and health effects. This objective will be achieved as a dynamic interaction between existing databases and the progress made over the course of the proposed project. This activity will be realised in WP2.
  • Identify new, health relevant, primary and secondary pollutants that originate from indoor sources present in typical modern office environments, using novel detection methods and analysis techniques that go beyond the state-of-the-art. The experimental set ups, sampling and analysis will be carried out within WP3.
  • Inventory and identify associations (events and sources) that have been identified as possible sources of IAQ problems in European modern offices, via a field investigation (through questionnaires and IAQ monitoring) that will be achieved in WP4. This includes, on the emitting side, the building/space characterisation, the assessment of the physical, chemical and current biological parameters and, on the occupants side, the consequent exposures and health effects for the time spent indoors, as described in the subsequent objectives.
  • Assess possible synergies of ozone-initiated pollutants (i.e. combined exposure) in office air and emitted from office equipment. A number of hypotheses will be studied in WP5, which focus on the potential toxicity of pollutants (VOCs, reactive particles and radicals), acute, as well as, long-term, caused by ozone-initiated reactions occurring in modern offices. The studies that will be undertaken intend to address these issues in an integrated manner by combination of biological characterisation, in vitro and in vivo studies.
  • Set up an integrated modelling system to link emissions of key pollutants (ozone, primary VOCs and particles) and major secondary indoor pollutants, which are known for their adverse health effects (identified in WP3 and WP5), to their concentrations and eventually to the assessment of the exposure of office workers, via a suite of modelling tools. This work will be carried out in WP6 and will be validated against the monitoring data on WP4. Its use in the context of this project will be to further support the interpretation and justification of the procedures involved, and assist with the extrapolation of the results in WP8.
  • Evaluate the health effects of indoor air pollution under different conditions in modern office buildings in Europe, through the study of the associations between health effects, the perceived IAQ by European office workers and their exposure to selected and prioritised indoor air pollutants, monitored in WP4. This work will be realised in WP7. The nature of the identified pollutants and the knowledge on the specificities of the detected health impacts will define the direction that shall be undertaken at laboratory level. Eventually, this will be integrated in the auditing procedures in situ.
  • Make recommendations for IAQ policies in modern office buildings across Europe, and propose adjustments to the current practices and techniques resulting from the development in equipments and spaces organisation of offices. This will include the identification of research gaps related to health and the indoor environment. The work will be carried out in WP8 and is closely dependent on the outputs of the monitoring and modelling work (WP4, WP6 and WP7) and will be particularly relevant to the Dissemination and exploitation activities (WP9) involving relevant stakeholder groups.