Air Quality Assessment: the LIFE-RESPIRE project

On 21 September 2017, the European LIFE-RESPIRE (acronym for Radon rEal time monitoring system and Proactive Indoor Remediation) project was launched in a public meeting organized at Sapienza University in Rome (Italy). The partnership of the project includes: the Research Center of Prediction, Prevention and Control of Geological Risks (CERI) of the Rome University “Sapienza” (project leader), the Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR-IGAG), the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) (Rome, Italy), the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) (Brussels, Belgium), the industrial partner Elica S.p.A. (Fabriano, Italy) and CiaoTech s.r.l. (Rome, Italy).

Rn has been classified as a carcinogen since 1988 and declared by the United Nations Commission on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) as the most important source of ionizing radiation in indoor environments. The project concerns the monitoring and the assessment of radon risk in confined environments (e.g. workplaces and private buildings), where people lives 80-90% of their time, in order to reduce the exposure of the population to natural radiation.

The main goals of ‘Life-Respire’ are:

the application in four areas – three in Italy and one in Belgium – characterized by different Geogenic Radon Potential, of an economical and environmentally friendly instrumentation for the real-time measurement and remediation of radon levels in selected buildings below the reference action level of 300 Bq/m3 and up to 100 Bq/m3 (as indicated in the European Directive 2013/59 / EURATOM). The project provides a remediation system of indoor air quality, intelligent hybrid, adaptive and versatile, consisting of sensors, an intelligent air intake and monitoring system (SNAP) and an additional external ventilation system (eolicand / or electric) based on the positive pressure method. A control model based on a IoT protocol will also be developed;

the construction of a geodatabase that will allow to store in real time data from the continuous radon measurements (SNAP system), together with other geological, geochemical data, as well as with the constructive features of the monitored buildings. The database will be managed and disseminated through a dedicated WebGIS platform. All stored data could be integrated, after calibration and verification by the responsible authorities, within the European Atlas of Natural Radiation (promoted by the European Community’s Joint Research Center);

the definition of radon risk guidelines and radon concentration maps (indoor and outdoor) that can be used from local authorities to identify the Radon Prone Areas for health risk assessment and management, and for land-use planning within national action plans (see Articles 54, 74 and 103 of 2013/59 / EURATOM).

The open meeting was attended by the representatives of the various research partner organizations and by the Mayors of the Lazio municipalities directly involved in the project: Caprarola (Viterbo), Celleno (Viterbo) and Ciampino (Rome).

The project will provide a significant contribution to the protection of human health from exposure to natural radioactivity,” said Giancarlo Ciotoli, researcher of CNR-IGAG. “In addition, the collected data will be available to all stakeholders through a dedicated WebGIS platform that will allow data interrogation and web mapping applications. The WebGIS will constitute a useful tool for public authorities and authorities to find innovative solutions for land-use planning and epidemiological research on radon exposure”.

Contact information: 

Sabina Bigi (Project Leader, CERI, Sapienza)
Giancarlo Ciotoli (CNR-IGAG)
Alessandra Sciarra (INGV)
Boris Dehanschutter (FANC)
Mauro Castello (ELICA, S.p.A.)

ERA welcomes membership applications from those who have an active interest in the field of radon