Chemical hazard and Indoor Air Quality: monitoring, diagnosis and prognosis (civil environments and workplaces)

Working Group
Maria Letizia Ruello, Chiara Giosuè, Mattia Pierpaoli, Silvia Palmieri, Luca Riderelli
Typically many pollutants show indoor concentration values higher than those present outside and often with the presence of pollutants not detectable outside.

The assessment of the exposure in confined spaces is based on the determination of the pollutants concentrations through both inductive and deductive approaches.

The inductive approach uses direct measurements, obtained by chemical / physical analysis, and sensors speifically realised to obtain the environmental concentration of the target agents. The monitoring has to ensure that the results reflect the concentrations of hazardous agents tThe study of the indoor air quality goes hand in hand with the study of the materials (that make up the environment itself and the indoor surfaces), and the different processes of release, uptake and/ or transformation of the pollutants.o which people are exposed.

The study of the indoor air quality goes hand in hand with the study of the materials constituent the environment itself and the indoor surfaces, and the different processes of release, uptake and/or transformation of the pollutants.

The deductive approach studies the close interaction existing between air pollution in the indoor environment, the materials exposed to the same environment, the anthropic activities that take place there and the dynamics of air circulation and replacement.

Environmental chambers, specifically designed to measure the emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) from building materials (such as Resilient floor coverings, adhesives, coatings walls and paints) or from the materials used in the processing (glues, paints, additives, etc.), are developed and implemented for the evaluation of the emission factors of the materials.

In the laboratory tests it is important to operate in reproducible and controlled conditions and comparable as possible with the real ones. The test chambers are constructed with materials that exhibit minimal adsorption properties of the volatile compounds under investigation, and are supplied with high purity air to minimize the background noise. The test chambers are kept at controlled temperature, humidity and air mixing parameters.

Qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the emission of the investigated material are determined by analysing the composition of the air inside the chamber: the composition of the emissions themselves and the flow of transfer of pollutants to the environment (ng m2 s-1) are calculated from these data.