Odour Regulation and the History of Odour Measurement in Europe

Odour Regulation and the History of Odour Measurement in Europe

The concentration of people in cities in Europe has led to considerable odour problems, which were addressed by a variety of regulations for many hundreds of years. In the past 30 years there is a trend to move away from using the judgement of an environmental health officer, and to rely on quantitative measurements of odour instead. Pioneered in The Netherlands, the trend is towards quantitative odour management based on measurement of emissions, dispersion modelling to define exposure and criteria derived from dose effect studies to define a level where no ‘reasonable cause for annoyance’ exists. These criteria may be specific to an industry, depending on the offensiveness of the odour. A reliable method for odour concentration measurement is an indispensable tool required for this approach, and such a method is now available is the European standard EN13725:2003. An initial comparison of results shows a remarkable agreement of results between this method and the Japanese Triangle method. The rigorous selection of assessors for the panel is likely to be the critical operational parameter that contributes to this agreement.

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