The French health agency recommends monitoring thirteen new pollutants in the air
Among the priority substances identified by ANSES are 1,3-butadiene, ultrafine particles and soot carbon. They are not regulated today.
The World | 28.06.2018 by Stéphane Mandard
After fine particles or nitrogen dioxide, which now have almost no secrets for them, the French will have to become familiar with the 1,3-butadiene, and especially beware of it. Unlike the first two pollutants, this substance with a barbaric name is not subject to regulated monitoring in the air and is not subject to exposure limit values.
1,3-butadiene is nevertheless a definite carcinogen for humans since 2012 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). "It is particularly problematic because it attacks several sites of the body: lungs, bone marrow, lymphatic system ...", details Valérie Pernelet-Joly, head of the air risk assessment unit at the Agency National Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES).
Resulting from incomplete combustion, this very toxic gas is emitted by a wide variety of sources: cigarette smoke, motor vehicle exhausts, heating or industrial activities specialized in the manufacture of plastic and rubber.
Several ad hoc measurement campaigns in France have shown frequent exceedances of its reference toxicity value (TRV). Also, in an opinion delivered Thursday, June 28, ANSES recommends a "national monitoring" of 1,3-butadiene. A first step towards its addition to the list of thirteen substances (such as fine particles, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, lead or sulfur dioxide) currently regulated in France. This is already the case in the United Kingdom and Hungary, two countries where there are reference values of concentration in the air.
"It will now be up to the government to take this position to the European level," explains Valérie Pernelet-Joly. One year ago, the European Commission initiated the revision of the 2008 directive on air quality monitoring. It should end at the end of 2019.
The evolution of knowledge on the toxicity of substances and their emissions into the atmosphere reveals that certain pollutants that may have a potential impact on health are not currently taken into account in air quality standards. .
It is in this context that ANSES was seized by the ministries of ecology and health to propose a list of new priority pollutants. In total, the Agency has identified thirteen. In addition to monitoring 1,3-butadiene, the report recommends "enhanced monitoring" of ultrafine particles (PUF) and carbon soot, "given their potential challenges in terms of health impacts".
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