For health reasons, Europe is imposing increasingly stringent emission standards for construction materials and other products used indoors. Product emissions measurements are therefore becoming increasingly important. Since 2014, VITO has been BELAC accredited for the latest European test method for materials and coatings.
It is no longer an option for European producers of construction materials to bring products to market that emit uncontrolled volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Several Member States have imposed strict standards in this area. The European Commission is working on a common policy framework. In the fall of 2013, Europe issued a new horizontal test standard: CEN/TS 16516, the stepping stone to uniform European VOC emission classes.
In the coming years, the new test method will become the standard for emission testing of construction materials and coatings in Europe. In 2014, VITO received Belgian BELAC accreditation to apply the test method. To this end, it has a series of emission test chambers of various sizes as well as devices for the identification, measurement and online monitoring of pollutants emitted by building products at its disposal. Other consumer products can also be tested, such as scented candles, oil lamps, incense, furniture or automotive products.
VITO is also able to use its specialised test chambers to determine the air purifying potential of construction materials. Objects to be tested in the chambers are then exposed to test atmospheres that can contain various pollutants in diverse concentrations.
In its product emission competence centre, VITO determines the emissions of (semi-)volatile organic compounds from construction materials, furniture and consumer products. At the request of industrial customers, it is conducting targeted tests during the product development and design phases. VITO is developing customised test suites that test whether a product meets the applicable regulations and gives advice to companies wishing to label their products.