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INTERA (INTegrated Exposure for Risk Assessment in indoor environments) was a research project that set out to improve our understanding of human exposure to air pollutants in homes, through a review of current knowledge, the development of a toolkit for users interested in exposure to indoor pollutants and dissemination of the results. For more details, see Intera work packages.
INTERA was sponsored by the CEFIC LRI programme and coordinated by THL in Finland, involving partners in Belgium, Greece and the UK, including at IOM where it was led by Dr Karen Galea. The two year project was completed in April 2012.
The main objective of INTERA is to define optimal methodologies for predicting indoor exposure to chemical and non-chemical contaminants and their inter-relationships.
Exposure to indoor air contaminants is one of the major sources of exposure to environmental health stressors, especially given that people spend the majority of their time indoors. Indoor air quality is determined by 1) the ability of outdoor source pollutants to infiltrate indoors and 2) emissions from indoor sources such as building materials, furniture, indoor combustion appliances (unvented gas stoves, candles, incense, cooking processes) , smoking (environmental tobacco smoke), electric appliances, use of consumer products (cleaning products and other household chemicals), and 3) indoor climatic variables.
Thus, the variability regarding the species and the levels of contamination within and between the indoor microenvironments is very wide, even among the rooms of a family residence. Personal exposure is likely to vary even more widely due to variation between and within individuals in behaviour and activities. Moreover, three key parameters significantly increase the levels of uncertainty and variability for the characterization of exposure and risk in an indoor microenvironment:
- Possible interactions among the several contaminants, including indoor reactive chemistry before exposure, or after inhalation (toxicodynamics)
- Toxicity pathways that may be activated due to the cumulative exposure-mixture effect of contaminants that, when assessed individually, are within the proposed safety limits.
- The susceptibility of different populations to several contaminants. For example, exposure levels met in everyday settings may pose some risk for specific groups (e.g. young children or asthmatics), especially when considering the above two assumptions.
The INTERA project will include the following elements:
- The characterisation and justification of a framework capable of being applied to indoor exposure data/information and covering parameters relevant to their wider interpretation.
- The development/incorporation of appropriate databases of quality assured source data.
- The development/incorporation of suitable models and statistical methodologies for the characterization and treatment of such data.
- The application of suitable models and/or statistical methods that serve to either fill gaps or offer refined exposure assessment where uncertainties are considered unacceptable.
- The ability to display exposure predictions in a number of formats in order that they can be better applied within the context of both research and policy development.
The INTERA project consists of 6 work packages.
An overview of the INTERA project can be found here.
The INTERA project team met in Thessaloniki, Greece from 7-8 July 2011. Updates on the progress of the work packages and case studies were presented and the current version of the modelling platform and visualization tool was demonstrated and discussed.
Intera project produced several datasets about chemical exposures and exposure parameters in Europe. These are listed here.
Additional information on other outputs from the project is availale from the CEFIC LRI website.
For further information about INTERA contact:
- Dr Karen Galea at IOM, Edinburg, EH14 4AP, UK. email: karen.galeaiom-world.org
- Jouni Tuomisto, National Institute for Health and Welfare, FI 70701 Kuopio, FINLAND. email: jouni.tuomistothl.fi
The National Institute for HEalth and Welfare (THL) is a research and development institute under the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. THL works to promote the well-being and health of the popualtion, prevent diseases and social problems, and develop social and health services.
An independent and customer-oriented research organisationm VITO provides innovative technological solutions as well as scientifically based adcice and support in order to stimulate sustainalbe development and reinforce the economic and social fabric of Flanders.
The IOM (Institute of Occupational Medicine) is a major independent centre of scientific excellence in the fields if occupational and environmental health, hygiene and safety. IOM's mission is to benefit those at work and in the community by providing quality research, consultancy and training in health, hygiene and safety and by maintaining an independent, impartial position as an international centre of excellence.
The Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CE.R.T.H.), the largest research centre in Northern Greece, was ofunded in March 2000. CERTH is a non-profit organization that directly reports to the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT), of the Greek Ministry of Development.
University of Aberdeen, UK
Working within the Population Health section of at the University of Aberdeen, the Environmantal & Occupational Medicine group are involved in a wide range of research projects covering both environmental and occupational health issues including air quality, exposure assessment methods and special topics including respiratory ill-health and skin disease. Members of the group provide medical expertise for occupational, respiratory and hyperbaric medicine, and we hace has access to therapeutic pressure chambers.
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - IAQ website
- WHO IAQ guidelines development site
- EXPOPLATFORM site
- CONSEXPO for consumer behaviour data
- JRC European Exposure Assessment Toolbox/AIRMEX
- US EPA IAQ models
- Multi-chamber IAQ model
- HEIMTSA FP6 Research Project
- ENVIE FP6 Research Project: ENVIE-IAQ
- University of Galway - Indoor Air Pollution and Health
- Emissions, Exposure Patterns and Health Effects of Consumer Products in the EU (EPHECT)