sinphonie: 85% of european schoolchildren breath fine dusts



The final report of the SINPHONIE (Schools Indoor Pollution and Health: Observatory Network in Europe) project (funded by the European Parliament), published in February 2015, has revealed that:


  • More than 85% of European schoolchildren are exposed to PM2.5 levels higher than 10 μg/m3 (WHO ambient guideline as annual mean), which are proposed in order to reduce the risk of long-term effects on cardio-vascular-respiratory function and lung cancer mortality.
  • About 25% of European schoolchildren are exposed to benzene in schools at more than 5 μg/m3, which is the limit set by the Air Quality Directive (2008/EC/50) for the management of the excess lifetime risk of leukaemia.
  • More than 60% of children are exposed to formaldehyde in schools at more than 10 μg/m3 (proposed by AFSSET as a long-term indoor air guideline value to protect from long-term effects), with the highest median levels in Central- Eastern and Western countries.
  • 50% of schoolchildren are exposed to radon at more than 100 Bq/m3 (national residential reference proposed by WHO in 2010 to manage excess lifetime risk of radon-induced lung cancer).


Breathe too many polluting means a greater risk of suffering from symptoms related to respiratory diseases and certainly does not help those who has already a problem: 8% of school children suffer from asthma, 9% of nasal allergies and 17% of eczema. And 3.6% of children, then, had an asthma attack at school.


According Piersante Sestini, professor at the University of Siena, the main problem is the one of ventilation: in schools was privileged energy savings and were created well insulated buildings where pollutants accumulate: benzene coming from street, carbon dioxide, dust, chalk…


 Download Sinphonie Final Report


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