22 September 2003 16:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Health risks posed by indoor pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are much higher than previously thought, according to the latest research published on Monday by the European Commission (EC).
The data from the EC's joint research centre (JRC) revealed that in the case of benzene and other aromatic compounds, overall indoor exposure can be at least twice that of urban pollution levels.
The EC explained that reductions in ventilation rates to limit energy consumption and extensive use of new building materials contributed to the release of chemical substances indoors.
It also noted that tobacco smoke, released radon, asbestos and benzene inside buildings are prime suspects in the increase of cancer incidents among the EU population.
Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin commented: “Traffic and smog are of course major causes of pollution. But unfortunately smoking and chemical substances sometimes follow us even behind closed doors at home, at the office, in restaurants and bars.
"We are therefore upgrading our indoor pollution monitoring and response capabilities, and we encourage policymakers and public authorities across Europe to address these issues and devise a consistent and effective strategy to solve the problem.”
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