B-01 Emissions of dangerous substances to indoor air during the use stage

Aspect B-01 Emissions of dangerous substances to indoor air during the use stage
This aspect concerns the emissions of regulated dangerous substances from building products into indoor air, which can have an impact on health.

related study objective

stand-alone LCA comparative assertion

related study phase

goal and scope definition inventory analysis (LCI) impact assessment (LCIA) interpretation reporting

relevant for

new buildings existing buildings construction products screening LCA simplified LCA complete LCA
Provisions The emissions of health-related substances into indoor air during the use stage should be assessed in the context of a complete LCA, according to the European standards from CEN/TC 351: see guidance below.
Rules from:
EN 15978: Boundary of the installed products in use (Module B1)

EN 15804:

7.4 Additional information on release of dangerous substances to indoor air, soil and water during the use stage

7.4.1 Indoor air


“ISO 14044 names ‘emissions to air, water and soil’ as top-level classification, while recommending further differentiation as required for the given goal and scope of the LCA work.” ILCD Handbook: Framework and requirements for LCIA models and indicators: “This guidance document provides a framework and requirements for the models that are used to analyse the emissions into air, water and soil,…”


The boundary of Module B1 includes impacts such as the release of substances from the façade, roof, floor coverings, internal finishes and other products that affect indoor air quality, which should be assessed according to the CEN/TC 351 standards, once these are available. The use stage starts at the point of practical completion of the construction work and runs to the time when the building is deconstructed or demolished.

EN 15804 is clear that the effects of health-related emissions and indoor air quality are not part of LCIA, but are considered and reported separately.  An emission, for example of a volatile solvent, from a product manufacturing process, installation process or product during use can be assessed as part of LCIA (e.g. POCP impact), irrespective of where and when the emission happens; the impact will be reported in the life cycle stage in which the impact occurs. But the effect of the emission from the product during use into indoor air where occupants are living or working can have separate health-related impacts that will be dependent on time and location, and are different from the impacts measured in LCIA. TC 351 provides guidance on how to report information on the health-related emissions from products in use, and covers emissions to air, water and soil (the emissions to water and soil are covered separately by Aspect B-02).

The guidance provides information on how to collect consistent data on indoor air emissions, and how they can be used in impact assessment methodologies.

The emissions of dangerous substances into indoor air during the use stage should be assessed according to the CEN/TC 351 standards.

The robustness programme is in progress in 2012, and the validated standards will be available in 2013. A list of regulated dangerous substances possibly associated with building products under the CPD (Construction Product Directive) Regulation has been established at European level [EC 2011]. This list indicates the substances and parameters that the evaluation should focus on. No aggregation is foreseen. For each pollutant, limit values can be defined at national level. At present, regulations exist in some European countries, such as Germany [AgBB 2010] and France [JORF 2011], and many voluntary labels exist at the European level [EC 2005a]. The results from CEN/TC351 tests will be integrated into the CE marking scheme, and allow products to meet CPR basic requirement No. 3 on Hygiene, Health and Environment [EC 2005b]. They are complementary to the results obtained using the LCA methodology.

Further work is necessary in order to establish scientific and pragmatic links between the data obtained by an LCA approach (CEN/TC 350 work) and that obtained by using emissions protocols (CEN/TC 351 work).

Some information on this issue is given in the LoRe-LCA project [LoRe-LCA 2011]. For more information on the link between LCI data on air emissions and LCIA method please consult the ‘Human toxicity and ecotoxicity indicators’ aspect.

For comparative assertions, simulation data are comparable if based on the same scenarios and hypothesis. All the parameters and hypotheses should be mentioned and explained together with the results in order to improve comparability.


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