The resident panel study which was investigating the existence of smells and undesirable odours near the production facilities, conducted by VTT Expert Service for the Rauma mill of Metsä-Botnia and Forchem, has been completed.
This resident panel study, carried out for the fifth time, was conducted during the period 1 March – 31 August 2011, and took place in the same time period as the studies had also been conducted in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2006.
When comparing the results to those from similar resident panel studies conducted in previous years, the average occurrence of smells from the Metsä-Botnia mill in Rauma remains essentially the same at 1 per cent and the occurrence of undesirable odours has dropped from 1 per cent to less than 1 per cent. Those residents who find pulp disturbing have risen slightly from 8 per cent to 13 per cent.
The occurrence of odours from the Forchem facility falls under the detection limit of this study method. Similarly, the undesirable odour index remains under the detection limit of this study method and does not exceed the 10 per cent level, which indicates that no undesirable odours are present. The odour caused by the Forchem facility remains at the same level as the results from the study conducted in 2006.
Often the odours from the pulp and tall oil factories blend into a “mix of smells” and the observers identified the sources of the smells fairly reliably.
Reliability of the work of the voluntary sniffers
A volunteer panel, formed of local residents in the area for the study, noted during a period of six months how often, and what kinds of smells were present in the air outside their home environment. The odour tracking forms were returned at set intervals to the VTT Expert Service, who conducted the study. The occurrence frequency of smells and noticeably disturbing odours, as well as the undesirability of the odours for each weekly period, and during the entire study period at different distances from the factory, were calculated on the basis of the observation material. According to VTT, the work of the resident panel was reliable.
The participants of the resident panel study were recruited from among those who had taken part in the 2006 study. Additionally, new participants were sought out using newspaper notifications and a total of 42 observers actively noted their observations in their home environment throughout the study. Most of thes lived less than 5 km from the factory, but a few lived further away and most had also taken part in the same study conducted in 2006. The requirements for participation included the minimum age of 16 years and a normal sense of smell.
VTT, Researcher Tuula Kajolinna, tel. +358 40 562 4379
Forchem, Head of Quality and Environment Anu Valtonen, tel. +358 50-3104439
Metsä-Botnia, Communications Manager Leena Salminen, tel. +358 50 5989 301
The occurrence of odours is in per cent of total time (24 h / day or 8760 h/a).
The undesirable odour index measures how many of the participants in the resident panel find the odour disturbing.
The level of disturbance caused by an odour is measured using a classification scale (0-3 in the resident panel study), in which 0 indicates that the odour is not disturbing at all, 1 that it’s a little disturbing, 2 clearly disturbing and 3 very disturbing.
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