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Environmental health guideline for Municipal Health Services. Assessment of air exchange and ventilation capacity in dwellings

GGD-richtlijn medische milieukunde. Beoordeling van ventilatie en ventilatievoorzieningen van woningen

Synopsis

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has drawn up a guideline, together with the Municipal Health Services (GGD) that describes how the air exchange rate and ventilation capacity of existing dwellings can be assessed. Examples of assessment points are: how many cubic metres of fresh air enter a dwelling per hour and how much indoor air is removed? What is the maximum volume flow that can be achieved? Is that flow sufficient to keep the indoor air at a healthy level and how can this be measured? Good ventilation in dwellings is often inadequate which can have consequences for the quality of the indoor environment and for people's health. Therefore, the Dutch government is planning to improve the indoor environmental quality. The guideline will provide GGD professionals with basic information regarding the air exchange rate and ventilation capacity of dwellings. It also outlines what is already known about the relationship between indoor air exchange and associated health risks. For example, too little ventilation can lead to dampness and high concentrations of combustion products and radon gas. This can cause: odour nuisance, exacerbation of asthma or even an increased risk of lung cancer. In addition, based on legal requirements and other standards, a selection of methods has been made of techniques and criteria that GGD departments can use to assess the ventilation capacity and air exchange rate of dwellings. In order to complete the range of instruments used, the methods, techniques and criteria have been supplemented wherever necessary. This change ensures more focus to be placed on the number of people actually present or usually present in the indoor area(s) concerned. In addition, the guideline outlines the specific tasks of the GGD departments as well as how they can approach the assessment process for air exchange rate and ventilation capacity. The assessment can take place in the dwelling itself or at the place of work.
 

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