If we exclude the special case of materials that come into contact with drinking water, there are no benchmarks in place to confirm that a product is safe, that is, one product does not have an impact on health but another product does. For the materials that come into contact with drinking water, based on benchmarks (list of authorised materials, migration test, etc.), it is up to health authorities relying on detailed regulations and approved laboratories to grant a product authorisation to come into contact with drinking water (in France: ACS or Certificate of Sanitary Conformity). More generally, the Construction Products Directive (DPC 89/106), transposed into French law, specifies in essential requirement No. 3 that the hygiene and health of occupants and neighbours must be ensured by measures including:
- the design of the project, its implementation, and its maintenance,
- performance and use of construction products.
This directive also establishes that the health performance of construction products is assessed through a multi-criteria approach using known technical characteristics (ability to seal out water and gases, thermal shock resistance, permeability to water vapour, etc.) and other more specific health criteria that require specific tests and methods, currently being drafted and/or harmonised at the European level (emissions of hazardous substances including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde, natural radioactive emissions, emissions of fibres and particles, etc.).
FDES sheets that meet the requirements of standards NF EN 15804 and its national supplement and have been accepted into the INIES contain information that reflects the current French consensus on conveying the health and comfort characteristics of construction products.
The INIES database is therefore not a database of products that have been selected because they are safe. Any product can be in the database, as long as its manufacturer meets the requirements for admission.