The New European Olfactometry Standard: Implementation, Experience, and Perspectives

The New European Olfactometry Standard: Implementation, Experience, and Perspectives

With the global increase of environmental regulations in the 1970’s, European countries, Australia, and the United States began to develop odor regulations. These regulations created the need to standardize the methods of odor measurement. More recently, in the 1990’s the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) formed a technical committee (TC264) which developed and is expected to release a final odor testing standard in late 2001, entitled EN 13725: “Air Quality-Determination of Odour Concentration by Dynamic Olfactometry.” This standard, which will unify the olfactometry standards of 18 countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), follows ISO quality assurance and scientific testing protocols. Australia and New Zealand have combined to write a new standard essentially identical to the European Standard. A consortium of odor laboratories in Canada and the United States initially approached the proposed European odor testing standard with skepticism. There were concerns regarding the presentation flow rate (20 lpm), the detailed statistical and procedural requirements, and the assessor screening and selection process that was based on only one standard odorant. However, the experience of adopting and applying the standard over the last five years has convinced these laboratories of the benefits of this one unifying olfactometry standard. While Universities and other laboratories are moving towards adopting the European olfactometry standard, there is also a trend towards state regulatory agencies in the U.S. also adopting the standard as an odor measurement tool for monitoring and compliance (e.g. Colorado, Minnesota). This new (draft) European olfactometry standard, due for official acceptance and publication in 2001, is poised to become a global standard of olfactometry for the testing of odours/odors. This paper discusses implementing and utilizing the proposed (draft) European Olfactometry Standard (EN 13725) by a number of Canadian and US odor laboratories. Topics discussed include presentation air flow parameters, laboratory procedures, quality control statistics, and assessor screening and performance criteria.

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