Harmonisation of health assessment – LCI values and EU-LCI values

An attic floor will be finished.Click to enlarge
Materials used for interior fittings must not pose a risk to health.
Source: Jürgen Fälchle / Fotolia.com

Many European Research projects show that the development of low-emission materials and building products is the most effective measure to improve indoor air quality.

A Europe-wide limitation or marking of gaseous emissions from materials requires harmonised measurement methods and a harmonised evaluation of measurement results to ensure that sound requirements aimed at protecting consumers are established. Germany and France have developed so-called Lowest Concentrations of Interest (LCI; German acronym: NIK; French acronym: CLI), which are used to evaluate emissions from building products into indoor air within the scope of their national legislations. Belgium has recently notified a regulation limiting emissions from construction products to the European Commission, and has suggested that a harmonised list of European LCI values should be developed for evaluation and that in the interim the German LCI list should be used as assessment standard. Lithuania has just notified a similar regulation.

In an effort to harmonise evaluations, a group of experts from ten European countries has developed a common European list of substances and associated emission limits (EU-LCI values). The new procedure used by the EU-LCI Working Group to derive these European reference values for emissions from construction products into indoor air has been agreed with all stakeholders and published in ECA Report No 29. Updates on progress made in the derivation of EU-LCIs are available on the EU-LCI website.

The German Environment Agency (UBA) has worked in recent years intensively that the European Commission supports the harmonisation activities, in order to ensure that Member States do not concurrently develop any new national evaluation standards and may instead refer to common European LCI values as necessary. In November 2015 the European Commission has issued a mandate to the EU-LCI Working Group for the completion of the EU-LCI list. A fully harmonized EU-LCI list is to be published by the end of 2019. Such a list would make a significant contribution to the implementation of legally defined objectives concerning the harmonisation of the methods for the evaluation of building products and bring about a uniform high level of consumer protection against gaseous emissions from building products throughout Europe.
UBA acts as secretariat for the EU-LCI Working Group.