Schools Indoor Pollution and Health: Observatory Network in Europe (SINPHONIE)

Schools Indoor Pollution and Health: Observatory Network in Europe (SINPHONIE)

Source of funding

European Commission

Name of client/donor

EC DG Health and Consumer Protection

Overall project value

EUR 3,833,050


October 2010 – December 2012

Beneficiary countries

Albania | Italy | Austria | Lithuania | Belgium | Malta | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Norway | Bulgaria | Poland | Cyprus | Portugal | Czech Republic | Romania | Estonia | Serbia | Finland | Slovak Republic | France | Sweden | Germany | The Netherlands | Greece | United Kingdom | Hungary

Number of staff


SINPHONIE is a complex research project covering the areas of health, environment, transport and climate change and aimed at improving air quality in schools and kindergartens. The project was implemented under a European Commission service contract (DG Sanco, Health and Consumer Protection Directorate). Thirty-eight environment and health institutions from 25 countries participated in the SINPHONIE research project in order to implement Regional Priority Goal III (RPG3) of the Children's Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE), which is to prevent and reduce respiratory disease due to outdoor and indoor air pollution.

The SINPHONIE project aimed to:

  • review previous research on indoor air quality (IAQ) and its impact on health, and to assess the policy relevance of the research objectives and conclusions;
  • assess the outdoor/indoor school environment and its impact on health by:

- measuring and assessing the physical parameters of, as well as chemical and biological contaminants found in, indoor air in schools and childcare facilities throughout Europe in order to produce new exposure data;
- evaluating the impact of external factors, such as traffic and climate change, on the indoor school environment; and
- obtaining data on the health status of children and health impacts related to the indoor environment through questionnaires, clinical tests and health impact assessments; and

  • manage risks and develop recommendations by:

- evaluating the impact of indoor air in classrooms on children's health and performance;
- producing guidelines on remedial measures for improving IAQ in the school environment; and
- disseminating project outputs and policy recommendations to relevant stakeholders with the capacity to take action on highlighted issues.

With its special focus on schools and childcare facilities, the SINPHONIE project aimed to define policy recommendations on remedial measures in the school environment. In order to achieve this overall objective, SINPHONIE built on knowledge acquired in the course of earlier projects (e.g. EnVIE; and SEARCH). It aimed to expand the spectrum of available information by carrying out complex research into children's exposure to indoor air pollutants and health risks in schools. The goal was to create a common European database using the same protocol on IAQ and other environmental parameters in schools and related health impacts throughout Europe in order to provide evidence for use in compiling guidelines to improve air quality in schools.

Project activities and results are described in full on the project website.

The REC acted as project coordinator and was responsible for general project management and for administrative issues and reporting. It also produced the project newsletter; three project brochures for children, parents and school staff; and the final project publications: European Guidelines for Healthy Environments within European Schools; and the SINPHONIE Final Report. All the reports are available for downloading here.

  • Assessment and monitoring
  • Awareness raising
  • Capacity building
  • Data collection
  • Drafting of reports
  • Event management
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Project management
  • Publishing