Malak Rizk-Bigourd, PhD, Scientific Advisor and Quality Manager Ecomesure
The French National Environmental Commitment Act made indoor air quality monitoring mandatory in the following institutions concerned with children:
- facilities for children under 6 years of age (crèches, day-care centers, etc.);
- recreation centers;
- educational establishments at the first and second levels (kindergartens, elementary schools, colleges, high schools, etc.).
In schools and reception areas, children are exposed to several pollutants emitted by furniture, cleaning products and school supplies. The concentrations of air pollutants in schools can sometimes be higher than in other places because of occupancy density and insufficient ventilation.
Decree No. 2015-1000 of 17 August 2015 set the following deadlines:
- 1 January 2018 for kindergartens and elementary schools
- 1 January 2020 for leisure and secondary education establishments, and
- 1 January, 2023 for the other establishments.
The regulatory framework governing indoor air monitoring in these establishments includes:
- an assessment of the means of aeration that can be carried out by the technical services of the establishment;
- the implementation, at choice:
- a pollutant measurement campaign (formaldehyde, benzene, CO2 to evaluate containment and possibly perchlorethylene for establishments adjoining a dry-cleaner) by an accredited body; If the limit values are exceeded, the establishment will be required to carry out investigations to determine the causes of these exceedances.
- self-assessment of air quality using the practical guide, to establish an action plan for the establishment. The purpose of this practical guide is to provide operational support to the various categories of responders in child-receiving facilities (management team, in-room activity manager, technical services and maintenance staff) in order to engage proactive and coordinated approach to improving indoor air quality. Its purpose is to quickly identify actions favorable to indoor air quality through self-diagnosis grids of observed practices and preliminary identification of potential sources present in or around the facility. The institutions concerned will then post a poster informing users of the approach taken by the institution.
Since January 1, 2018, indoor air quality monitoring (IAQ) in France has been compulsory in nursery and elementary schools as well as in nurseries . The evaluation of the means of aeration as well as air quality measurements or an action plan must have been completed by that date.