20 March 2014

The EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a report proposing an EU-wide harmonised framework for evaluating indoor emissions from construction products in Europe.

Emissions from construction products can constitute a significant source of indoor air pollution, which can be harmful to our health. A number of national and industry labelling schemes for low emitting products already exist in Europe, each having their own specific requirements and criteria for product emission testing and evaluation. This results in significant costs to industries wishing to provide low emitting products in different European markets and is also potentially confusing for building designers and consumers wishing to make informed product choices.

In response to this concern, and to further encourage the development and application of low emitting construction products in Europe, the European Commission, EU Member States and the construction and chemical industry have in recent years intensified their efforts to promote and establish harmonised frameworks for indoor material labelling schemes and the health-based evaluation of emissions from construction products at EU level.

In 2011, an EU-LCI working group comprising European toxicologists and experts in chemical emissions testing and product labelling was established and co-ordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, with the objective of developing a harmonised framework for the health-based evaluation of emissions from construction products in the EU using the LCI concept (EU-LCI). This work is based on existing approaches established mainly by AgBB in Germany and ANSES in France, and also experiences in Finland, Denmark and Belgium.

The principal goal is to enable voluntary and mandatory labelling schemes to evaluate product emissions in the same way, using a common and robust health-based approach.