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Description of the project

Mission & Vision

Indoor air pollution is an emerging threat recognized by European society, and is claiming millions of lives annually. People are constantly exposed to outdoor and indoor air pollution; in fact, the latest research shows that people in developed countries spend up to 90% of their time indoors, almost 70% of which is at home. Since the pandemic broke out, time spent indoors has increased dramatically, resulting in exposure to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) that can generate serious health outcomes. Recent studies suggest that up to 15% of COVID-19 related deaths could be attributed to impaired air quality in residential environments. Poor indoor air quality, along with contamination by biological agents related to moisture and mold, increase the risk of respiratory diseases by 50%. Although impaired IAQ represents a major health risk, it affects people in different ways and certain populations are more vulnerable: children, elderly, people with respiratory illnesses are more sensitive to these environmental risks than the general public.

Despite rather extensive research on IAQ, the majority of current understanding about the subject, which includes pollution sources, indoor-outdoor relationships, and ventilation/filtration, is still quite limited mainly because air quality monitoring in EU is primarily focused on outdoor air quality and regulatory requirements are lacking for indoor environments.

EDIAQI aims at improving guidelines and awareness for advancing the IAQ in Europe and beyond by allowing user-friendly access to information about indoor air pollution exposures, sources and related risk factors. The solution proposed with EDIAQI consists in conducting characterization of sources and routes of exposure and dispersion of chemical, biological, and emerging indoor air pollution in multiple cities in EU. The project will deploy cost-effective/user-friendly monitoring solutions that will create new knowledge on sources, routes of exposure, and body burdens of indoor multipollutant.

The EDIAQI project brings together 18 organizations, from 11 different European countries, who provide a mix of interdisciplinary skills and expertise in different fields including environmental science and technology, medicine and toxicology, as well as policy design and public engagement.

A woman face with a forest in a background
A thumb up hand with a forest background

Key objectives

The goal of the project is to validate user-friendly IAQ monitoring solutions, also through a series of pilots and campaigns, that can help create a long-term Europe-wide knowledge base for risk factors associated with standard and novel indoor air pollutants. The evidence provided along with the characterization of main sources of indoor air pollutants for relevant and representative indoor environments will help supporting relevant stakeholders with standardized guidelines for interventions to improve IAQ policy-makers in revising IAQ standards and supporting measures for IAQ regulation, control and monitoring.

To support this vision, EDIAQI will pursue the following objectives over the next 4 years:

Validating user-friendly indoor air quality monitoring solutions and providing standardized guidelines for interventions to improve indoor air quality;
Gathering data and ensuring access to relevant stakeholders, including both physical-chemical and microbiological properties, as well as characterization of main sources of indoor air pollutants for relevant and representative indoor environments;
Supporting policy-makers with evidence for revising indoor air quality standards and supporting regulatory measures for control and monitoring;
Science-based evidence for supporting the Zero-Pollution Action Plan of the European Green Deal.

Key results


Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) characterization

EDIAQI will create FAIR data on both indoor and outdoor air pollutants for relevant stakeholders, to that society and public authorities will have access to science-based, user-friendly IAQ monitoring solutions, allowing for assessment of health risks associated to IAQ and to prepare revised respective standards for the regulatory measures. IAP measurements conducted in EDIAQI will create insights into pollution levels, their distribution between outdoors and indoors, possible sources and potential health risks. Exposure concentration measurements on the respiratory tract will be used for the first time in epidemiological and toxicological evaluation of pollution-related outcomes. Furthermore, significant attention will be dedicated to understand the relationship between IAQ, health related effects, and ventilation/filtration. Overall, the goal of IAP characterization is to identify the sources and routes of exposure to IAP and to better understand indoor-outdoor effects.


Data management tools and pollution monitoring

EDIAQI will to leverage developments in low-cost sensorics hardware, data science and cloud technologies to deliver a large-scale multi sensor and interoperable framework to understand human exposure to IAP and their relationship to environmental factors. The multi-layer network for air pollution monitoring in EDIAQI will be composed by sensors (1st layer) that will be tested and deployed to collect data, integration (2nd layer) of data that must be harmonized in order to be properly collected and shared, and finally presentation (3rd layer) where harmonized data will be made visible and accessible through maps, tables, and diagrams.


Toxicological data

In project EDIAQI, a comprehensive approach using a battery of test systems including human biomonitoring, in vitro (2D and 3D) and in vivo models will be used to assess the adverse effects of studied indoor air pollutants and to elucidate their possible mechanisms of action (MoA). Human biomonitoring and in vitro studies will focus on the mechanisms of toxic and, in particular, genotoxic effects of identified indoor air pollutants, especially complex mixtures that constitute indoor pollution. In vivo studies will aim to test individual and combined doses of two preselected indoor air pollutants with the highest in vitro genotoxicity effects. In EDIAQI, due to the importance of investigating the potential adverse effects of chemicals and their MoA, as prenatal or early childhood exposure may manifest in adolescence or later adulthood, the (geno)toxic activity will be investigated using different methods, both, short-term exposure (e.g., detection of oxidative damage) and prolonged exposure.


Hybrid digital twin for modelling air pollution

In EDIAQI, machine learning and model simulations will allow to better understand processes related to indoor-outdoor pollution exchange and transformation. Large-scale and long-term measurement data of indoor air pollutants across Europe will be synthesized using machine learning and computer assisted simulations to give an immediate, real-time overview of IAQ in the online platform; produce user-friendly alert classifiers and to provide real-time recommendations how to improve air quality indoors; and predict the IAQ and encourage proactive decision making based on various parameters. In particular, hybrid models (Neural Networks (NNs)) will be used to draw conclusions in virtual, simulated environments that are an adequate representation of the physical world and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations will be used to interpret real world measurements, as well as to validate NN models.