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The main objective of INTERA is to define optimal methodologies for predicting indoor exposure to chemical and non-chemical contaminants and their inter-relationships.
Exposure to indoor air contaminants is one of the major sources of exposure to environmental health stressors, especially given that people spend the majority of their time indoors. Indoor air quality is determined by 1) the ability of outdoor source pollutants to infiltrate indoors and 2) emissions from indoor sources such as building materials, furniture, indoor combustion appliances (unvented gas stoves, candles, incense, cooking processes) , smoking (environmental tobacco smoke), electric appliances, use of consumer products (cleaning products and other household chemicals), and 3) indoor climatic variables.
Thus, the variability regarding the species and the levels of contamination within and between the indoor microenvironments is very wide, even among the rooms of a family residence. Personal exposure is likely to vary even more widely due to variation between and within individuals in behaviour and activities. Moreover, three key parameters significantly increase the levels of uncertainty and variability for the characterization of exposure and risk in an indoor microenvironment:
  • Possible interactions among the several contaminants, including indoor reactive chemistry before exposure, or after inhalation (toxicodynamics)
  • Toxicity pathways that may be activated due to the cumulative exposure-mixture effect of contaminants that, when assessed individually, are within the proposed safety limits.
  • The susceptibility of different populations to several contaminants. For example, exposure levels met in everyday settings may pose some risk for specific groups (e.g. young children or asthmatics), especially when considering the above two assumptions.
The INTERA project will include the following elements:
  • The characterisation and justification of a framework capable of being applied to indoor exposure data/information and covering parameters relevant to their wider interpretation.
  • The development/incorporation of appropriate databases of quality assured source data.
  • The development/incorporation of suitable models and statistical methodologies for the characterization and treatment of such data.
  • The application of suitable models and/or statistical methods that serve to either fill gaps or offer refined exposure assessment where uncertainties are considered unacceptable.
  • The ability to display exposure predictions in a number of formats in order that they can be better applied within the context of both research and policy development.
The INTERA project consists of 6 work packages - WP1, WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5 and WP6.
An overview of the INTERA project can be found here.


Project contacts

For further information about INTERA contact:

Dr Karen Galea at IOM, Edinburgh, EH14 4AP, UK.

Arja Asikainen,
National Institute for Health and Welfare,
FI 70701 Kuopio, FINLAND