Indoor air quality (IAQ) can be characterised by physical parameters (e.g., temperature, relative humidity, air exchange rate), chemical air pollutants (e.g., carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, ozone, benzene, etc.) and biological agents (e.g., pollen, fungi). During the monitoring campaign 64 primary school buildings were investigated in Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Slovenia) where the concentration of the most important air pollutants as well as the physical parameters were monitored. Due to the complexity of this issue, a simple Indoor Health Index has been developed (i) to disseminate the results of the project among the public and stakeholders and (ii) to provide health relevant information about the IAQ.
The calculation of the Indoor Health Index is based different threshold values determined by the health effects of the air pollutants/physical parameters (recommendations of the WHO and/or EC and/or scientific papers).
We applied a five scale categorization of the most important and frequent chemical air pollutants using for the cut off points.
Table 1. The calculation of Indoor Health Index.
|Category||benzene (µg/m3)||formaldehyde (µg/m3)||PM2.5 (µg/m3)|
When applying the index in practice we characterize the actual air quality according to the worst category, indicating the pollutant.
The database in which the Indoor Health Index has been calculated is available upon request.
To characterize the thermal comfort, different cut-off points for two physical parameters, temperature and relative humidity, as well as for the concentration of carbon dioxide have been set (Table 2).
Table 2: Categories based on the measured temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide concentration values
|Category||RH (%)||T (°C)||CO2 (ppm)|
|healthy||43 < RH < 67||18.5 < T < 25.5||<1200|
|moderate||37 < RH < 43|
67 < RH < 73
|17.5 < T < 18.5||1200-1800|
|unhealthy||RH < 37|
RH > 73
|T < 17.5|
T > 25.5
InAirQ is an international project aiming to assess the health risk of indoor air pollutants on a vulnerable population (i.e. children between age 6 and 14) and to take actions to improve the indoor environment in school buildings in Central Europe. National vulnerability assessments and SWOT analyses have been prepared to assess and explore the actual risks related to indoor air quality (IAQ) in school buildings. The IAQ has been investigated in 64 school buildings selected in 5 countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Slovenia). The Virtual Health Repository has been developed in the frame of the InAirQ project to provide health relevant information on IAQ to decision makers. Based on the results of the monitoring campaign, National Action Plans will be elaborated, tested and implemented, striving to improve children`s health through changes in the indoor environment. Capacity-building courses will be organized to the school managers and local/regional school operating bodies for the best implementation of the action plans, while the transnational Environment Quality Forum will provide the follow up of the project results and sustain the co-operation with the potential stakeholders.
InAirQ has officially started on the 1st July 2016 under the coordination of National Public Health Institute (NPHI), Hungary and will end on the 30th June 2019. The project is funded by Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE.
For more information, visit our website: http://www.interreg-central.eu/Content.Node/InAirQ/InAirQ.html