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Salthammer T.,Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut

The importance of good indoor air quality for the health of the individual was recognized as long as 150. years ago and that period also saw recommendations, which essentially related to questions of ventilation and carbon dioxide. The first evaluation standards for organic and inorganic substances were laid down in the 1970s, often on an empirical basis. It was in the mid-1980s of the 20th century that a shift occurred towards systematically evaluating the results of indoor air measurements, carrying out representative environmental surveys and deriving guideline values and reference values on the basis of toxicological, epidemiological and statistical criteria. Generally speaking the indoor environment is an area which can only be assessed with difficulty since its occupants are in most cases exposed to mixtures of substances and there can be great local and temporal variations in the substance spectrum. Data are available today for a large number of substances and this makes it possible, with the aid of statistically derived reference values and toxicologically based guideline values, to make useful recommendations regarding good indoor air quality. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to evaluate reactive compounds and reaction products. What is disadvantageous, however, is the fact that different guideline values may be published for one and the same substance, whose justification and area of application are often not transparent. A guideline or reference value can only be regarded as rational when necessary and when a strategy for its verification is available. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Salthammer T.,Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut
International journal of hygiene and environmental health

The IARC's 2004 classification of formaldehyde as a human carcinogen has led to intensive discussion on scientific and regulatory levels. In June 2014, the European Union followed and classified formaldehyde as a cause of cancer. This automatically triggers consequences in terms of emission minimization and the health-related assessment of building and consumer products. On the other hand, authorities are demanding and authorizing technologies and products which can release significant quantities of formaldehyde into the atmosphere. In the outdoor environment, this particularly applies to combusting fuels. The formation of formaldehyde through photochemical smog has also been a recognized problem for years. Indoors there are various processes which can contribute to increased formaldehyde concentrations. Overall, legislation faces a dilemma: primary sources are often over-regulated while a lack of consideration of secondary sources negates the regulations' effects. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved. Source

Salthammer T.,Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition

Formaldehyde has been discussed as a typical indoor pollutant for decades. Legal requirements and ever-lower limits for formaldehyde in indoor air have led to a continual reduction in the amount of formaldehyde released from furniture, building materials, and household products over many years. Slowly, and without much attention from research on indoor air, a change of paradigm is taking place, however. Today, the formaldehyde concentrations in outdoor air, particularly in polluted urban areas, sometimes already reach indoor levels. This is largely a result of photochemical processes and the use of biofuels. In the medium term, this development might have consequences for the way buildings are ventilated and lead to a change in the way we evaluate human exposure. Formaldehyde is a well-known gaseous indoor pollutant. In recent years different countries and organizations have developed concepts for the evaluation of indoor air quality, and consequently, the indoor concentrations of formaldehyde have decreased. However, in the outdoor air in many metropolitan areas, formaldehyde concentrations are continuously growing and sometimes exceed guideline values for indoor air. © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Source

Salthammer T.,Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut
Indoor Air

Very volatile organic compounds (VVOCs), as categorized by the WHO, are an important subgroup of indoor pollutants and cover a wide spectrum of chemical substances. Some VVOCs are components of products commonly used indoors, some result from chemical reactions and some are reactive precursors of secondary products. Nevertheless, there is still no clear and internationally accepted definition of VVOCs. Current approaches are based on the boiling point, and the saturation vapor pressure or refer to analytical procedures. A significant problem is that many airborne VVOCs cannot be routinely analyzed by the usually applied technique of sampling on Tenax TA® followed by thermal desorption GC/MS or by DNPH-sampling/HPLC/UV. Some VVOCs are therefore often neglected in indoor-related studies. However, VVOCs are of high significance for indoor air quality assessment and there is need for their broader consideration in measurement campaigns and material emission testing. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Source

Yan L.,Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut | Chouw N.,University of Auckland | Jayaraman K.,University of Auckland
Materials and Design

The lack of data related to durability is one major challenge that needed to be addressed prior to the widespread acceptance of natural fibre reinforced polymer composites for engineering applications. In this work, the combined effect of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and water spraying on the mechanical properties of flax fabric reinforced epoxy composite was investigated to assess the durability performance of this composite used for civil engineering applications. Specimens fabricated by hand lay-up process were exposed in an accelerated weathering chamber for 1500. h. Tensile and three-point bending tests were performed to evaluate the mechanical properties. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used to analyse the microstructures of the composites. In addition, the durability performance of flax/epoxy composite was compared with synthetic (glass and carbon) and hybrid fibre reinforced composites. The test results show that the tensile strength/modulus of the weathered composites decreased 29.9% and 34.9%, respectively. The flexural strength/modulus reduced 10.0% and 10.2%, respectively. SEM study confirmed the degradation in fibre/matrix interfacial bonding after exposure. Comparisons with other composites implies that flax fabric/epoxy composite has potential to be used for civil engineering applications when taking its structural and durability performance into account. Proper treatments to enhance its durability performance will make it more comparable to synthetic fibre reinforced composites when considering as construction building materials. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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