Thematic Areas

At the CNR-IIA research activities are conducted within the framework of International, European, and National projects and programs. These activities often combine multiple disciplines, integrating the experimental, modeling, and regulatory components of atmospheric pollution research. The Institute is organised into the following Thematic Areas:

Atmospheric Pollution in Urban and Industrial Area

The activity of the Thematic Group “Atmospheric pollution in urban and industrial areas” is aimed to evaluate the quality of air in anthropic areas. This goal is obtained by studying real cases in various geographical areas and by developing and using specific techniques for the evaluation of the chemical composition, concentration, size distribution and sources of atmospheric pollutants, particularly as far as particulate matter is concerned.

The research activity includes the development and validation of techniques for active and diffusive sampling of pollutants and for evaluating the size distribution of PM (multi-stage impactor, particle counters and sizers), as well as of analytical methods employing chromatography, XRF, ICP, thermo-optical and thermo-gravimetric analysis, optical and electron microscopy, advanced techniques for the measurement of aerosol components in real time (AMS).

The Area has developed and applies an integrated method for the determination of all macro-components of atmospheric particulate matter, including bioaerosol, which allows the attainment of mass closure.

When studying real cases we evaluate the spatial distribution of pollutants and the time variation of their concentration (daily, seasonal, long time), which are interpreted according to the meteorological situation. In particular, the link between air quality and mixing properties of the lower atmosphere is studied on the basis of natural radioactivity monitoring. Main pollution sources are evaluated by applying multivariate analysis techniques (FA, PMF, PCA, APCSA, LDA).

Field studies are carried out in urban and suburban areas (traffic emission, domestic heating, indoor pollution, regional scale pollution and long range transport contribution, strength of natural sources) and in industrial sites (impact of power plants, incinerators, industrial plants).

Current studies include the development of techniques for the quantitative evaluation of primary bioaerosol, the study of the thermal behavior of atmospheric particulate matter, the evaluation of water amount on PM, the study of the link between PM and respiratory health.

Studies on air quality are made to measure pollutant species, evaluation of changes in time and space of their concentration and the estimation of the sources.

Cinzia Perrino

Cinzia Perrino

referente Area di ricerca

Office: MLIB

Emerging Air Contaminants in Environmental Emissions

Ettore Guerriero

Ettore Guerriero

Research area coordinator

Office: MLIB

In order to respond to the need of discipline national functions related to the monitoring of industrial emissions into the atmosphere and air quality, as well as quality assurance measures, activities and specific research they are conducted. Through them, the Thematic Group wants to offer the Community and national legal system the unique experience and expertise gained in the field of monitoring and control of emissions and immissions of regulated organic pollutants, as well as new emerging pollutants. In this view, the Thematic Group aims to become a body entrusted to carry out the functions of development techniques for sampling and chemical analysis of relevant substances from an ambiance perspective, showing to be able to meet the necessary requirements for this action, namely:
specific experience in the field;
immediate operation;
ability to perform tests and investigations both laboratory and field.

The Thematic Group activities provides, as part of analytical chemistry, method development, even automatic, for the identification and dosage of organic pollutants present in the emissions of some industrial sectors and in ambient air; through the evaluation of chemical and industrial processes we will study of technological processes and abatement systems useful to break down the organic and emerging pollutant emissions, as well as the development of monitoring systems to continuously toxic compounds. Among emerging contaminants (EOC) Special attention will be paid to the illicit psychotropic substances (cocaine, cannabinoids). The drugs will be monitored jointly regulated pollutants (BaP, PAHs) and will study the spatial and temporal modulations. Tests will be made on the presence of phthalates and studies to standardize a method for the monitoring of BaP and PAHs. PAHs in indoor air will be studied. In order to control and reduce the emission of particulate matter, it will be in-depth knowledge of the absolute and relative contribution from emissive sources, evaluating the distribution of the concentration and the particle size both in terms of mass of that number. In addition, it is active participation of the RPGs to national and international standardization bodies on methods of organic micro-pollutants.
Through their research, the Thematic Group aims to deepen understanding of chemistry and environmental quality of life (indoor and outdoor, private and public spaces), in reference to municipalities and new pollutants (PAHs, drugs, EOC PCDD / F, DL-PCBs, nanoparticles), to identify the sources of these and evaluate their effects. Sufficient knowledge of the pollution rates to drugs is a necessary condition for groped the index the prevalence of abuse through environmental measures.
The identification of specific pollutants and diagnostic relations between congeners helps to estimate the fallout of toxic and harmful emissions on the environment in small, medium and large scale.

Emerging Pollutants

The interest of scientists and legislators is increasingly shifting from regulated pollutants and POPs, whose measurement protocols and toxicity are established, to new classes of substances (especially organic) that affect environment and human health.  These are known as Emerging Contaminants (ECs) or Endocrine Destructors (EDs), among them plasticizers, flame retardants, surfactants, fragrances, new pesticides, antioxidants / preservatives, UV shielding agents, detergents, cosmetics and cleaning products, psychotropic drugs and medicines are included.

A wide spectrum of harmful effects is associated to these substances, namely mutagenesis, sensitization, irritation, allergies, liver and heart problems, genetic and endocrine dysfunctions, negative outcomes on reproduction. Due to the widespread diffusion and the relative chemical inertia, they accumulate and disperse in all environmental compartments even in remote areas, but affect above all indoor environments. The CNR-IIA has gained a rich experience in both ECs (unique about psychotropic substances and drugs in the air) and indoor environments. The aim of this thematic field is to investigate the chemical composition and the behaviour of these pollutants in the atmosphere. For this purpose, new analytical methods are developed using routine and advanced instrumental techniques.

The Research Group carries out its activities both nationally and internationally through projects, conventions and scientific cooperation with universities, local administrations, governmental agency and businesses. These activities provide further information to better identifying population exposure to EDs as well as their environmental and health impact. The most suitable sites for outdoor studies are urban and remote areas whereas for the indoor homes, offices, schools and hospitals are favourite. Gaseous species, aerosols and depositions are investigated, as well as new environmental matrices (e.g. microplastics). The parallel speciation of traditional pollutants (PAHs, Nitro-PAHs, BTEX, aliphatic hydrocarbons, fatty acids) and the study of different matrices help to identify sources and to evaluate pollution transport processes.

Catia Balducci

Catia Balducci

Research Area coordinator

Place: MLIB


Pollutant Cycles Across Different Spatial Scales and in Polar Areas

Francesca Sprovieri

Francesca Sprovieri

Research area coordinator

Office: Rende

In the context of crafting European legislation, the acquisition of information about pollutant dynamics and processes in different environmental ecosystems becomes essential. In particular, it is important to collect information and how the various pollutants behave as the move across water-atmosphere-soil-snow-ice interfaces, and across various spatial scales. Particular attention is given to the range of phenomena relating to the exchange processes of specific pollutants (ie, Hg, NOx and HONO), and how those pollutants move between the atmosphere and water/snow/ice interfaces, a process that affects atmospheric composition on both regional and global scales (especially in Arctic and Antarctic areas). Therefore, studying and understanding these processes has become essential to characterizing the biogeochemical cycle of each, and to evaluating how ecosystems maintain a delicate balance. This balance is often prone to disruption by human activity, sometimes with consequences for public health. This research group is broadly interested in advancing our understanding of the chemical and physical mechanisms that govern micro-pollutant cycles of Hg, NOx, VOCs, and other pollutants of interest to the international scientific community. In the process the CNR-IIA has strived to develop both European Projects/Programs and International Agreements, and it has played a leading role in the “Global Mercury Observation System (GMOS), the Project PEA 2010-2012 (PRODEF_09_113) “Investigation on Chemical and Physical Processes That Affect the Cycle of Atmospheric Mercury in the Polar Regions,” and the UNECE-LRTAP, GEO-Task HE-09-02d, AMAP.


Our research team has the skills and experience necessary to coordinate National, European, and International research projects relevant to our area of study. Results from the studies we have conducted have been published in ISI journals, and have been featured as chapters in international textbooks. Our core competencies include: studying the chemistry of Hg, reactive nitrogen and halogen compounds, and carbonyl compounds (formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone); characterizing organic particulates; determining Hg species fluxes and mass-balances as they move across various surfaces; studying transport turbulence at the interface of the atmosphere and other ecosystems; applying micro-weather flow-measurement techniques for NOy, Hg0, CO2, O3, CH4 and the VOCs; studying phenomena related to ozone depletion; studying photochemical processes and behavior in relation to greenhouse gases and global climate change; developing innovative techniques for sampling and analysis; determining the chemical and physical properties of snow, in relation to production and/or deposition of chemical compounds of interest; creating databases, and, more generally, managing data and metadata.

Primary Research Focus

Our main area of research has been focused on the following: defining background levels for the various species of Hg, NOx, OVOC/VOCs, and aerosols in different matrices, studying their complex physical-chemical mechanisms and the qualitative and quantitative parameters characterizing the reactions involved in their distribution; and investigating their mass transfer across air / water / snow / ice interfaces, on both a regional and global basis (including polar areas). This general focus is manifested in specific studies that have focused on Hg chemistry in the atmosphere, nitrogen species, halogens, aerosols, solar radiation, the chemical-physical characterization of snow, and organic compounds (VOCs and OVOCs – the latter of which has been of particular interest for its role in reacting with carbon radicals to form O3 in polar areas (ie, OH, and NO3).

Specific Objectives include:

  • Determining mercury species in different environmental media and fluxes at air-water-snow-ice interfaces;
  • Characterizing processes related to Hg chemistry, oxidation, halogen chemistry, and depletion of elemental mercury in polar areas and deposition of its oxidation products;
  • Identifying nitrate sources in snow by differentiating contributions from various ecosystems;
  • Studying nitrate activation mechanisms in snow. These mechanisms, when reduced, produce reactive nitrogen species (ie, NO, NO2, and HONO) that influence the oxidative properties of the polar troposphere;
  • Determining carbonyl compound flows;
  • Studying the formation of carbonyls and their precursors: VOCs, and NO2;
  • Studying O3 formation, produced when carbonyls react with OH and NO3 radicals;
  • Characterizing the chemistry of organic particulates;
  • Studying the chemical/physical properties of snow as they affect the formation mechanisms of micropollutants;
  • Studying snow’s radiometric properties at visible and infrared wavelengths to define specific surface areas.

Study of the dynamics of pollutants in various environmental ecosystems and their mass transfer to the atmosphere-water-soil-snow-ice interfaces on a regional and global scale.

High-performance sensors and sensing systems for monitoring air quality and environment

Antonella Macagnano

Antonella Macagnano

Research area coordinator

Office: MLIB

The deadline for the Nanomaterials (I.F. 3.553) Special Issue is still open

The release of pollutants into various environmental compartments upon human activities is inducing strong modifications in ecosystems, by affecting climate, biomes and humans’ health. The detection of pollutants in distinct environmental compartments (i.e., the contaminants causing toxic effects on living organisms), of their concentrations and fate and therefore the monitoring over time of such parameters, are essential tasks in the assessment of risk exposure of humans and of possible consequent damages to human health. Hence, the monitoring of environmental pollutants has become an imperative need to our society, at both urban and rural level.

Therefore, the urgency for monitoring systems more flexible than traditional ones has arisen, since the latter are expensive and often impossible to use, despite their high accuracy and precision, in applications where miniaturization and observation of large areas are required. Additionally, most of the traditional analytical systems do not permit low-powered continuous monitoring. At the same time, the need to develop observational systems on both continental and global scales, in order to collect data to support the European directives and treaties and international programs on environmental pollution (i.e., UNECE-LRTAP, Minamata Convention, UNEP, GEOSS, Earth Cube), as well as the necessity to reduce the costs for investment and operation, urged the scientific community to develop advanced sensors for monitoring environmental pollution.

Topic activities aim to develop sensor devices for monitoring the quality of air, soil and water through:

  • designing and manufacturing customised conductometric and gravimetric microtransducers based on conventional and unconventional substrates;
  • designing and manufacturing chemical sensors and biosensors (wearable sensors, biodegradable materials, etc.);
  • designing and developing sensors, sensor arrays, multiparameter sensing devices and hybrids;
  • designing and developing low-cost technologies to grow nanostructured thin films (e.g., electrospinning, dipping, self-assembling, electrochemical growth and immobilisation) and investigating physicochemical strategies for functionalization of materials;
  • characterisation of morphological, physicochemical and electrical parameters of sensing materials;
  • designing and developing electronic interfaces for sensors;
  • testing and calibrations.

All activities are supported by ongoing projects and national and international partnerships.

Design and development of nanostructured sensors and multiparameter sensor devices for monitoring real-time and in-situ of gaseous toxic air pollutants and particulate matter.

Global and Regional Atmospheric Modelling

Antonello Pasini

Antonello Pasini

Research area coordinator

Office: MLIB

The Modelling Thematic Group employs computer modelling software tools to aid in the Interpretation, Interpolation and Prevision / Forecast of Atmospheric Air Quality Parameters, and also uses these methods to investigate future Air Quality scenarios which may result from changes in climate or pollutant emission patterns.

The modelling techniques used vary in their temporal and spatial application. They range from models which are used to investigate chemical processes which occur in aerosol or cloud droplets and include very detailed descriptions of gas and aqueous phase chemistry, to global scale models which are used to investigate long-range (intercontinental) transport of pollutants and their precursors. In between these two extremes we have models which simulate regional (country to continental) scales, as well as models which can be applied to specific areas such as urban scale models.

Besides these dynamical models, there is an activity of development and application of neural network models to climatic attribution and impacts, to downscaling (even for obtaining local future scenarios), and to forecasts of physical parameters in the boundary layer.

Models are used in conjunction with observations in order to identify the phenomena (chemical and /or meteorological) which influence air quality.

Models which successfully reproduce observed air quality parameters can be used to predict those  same parameters in areas not covered by measurements.

Prevision / Forecast
Once a model has been verified against an extensive (temporally, although not necessarily spatially) series of data, it can be used to predict future air quality (a chemical weather forecast), usually for periods associated with normal weather forecasts.

A model which has been shown to be reliable can be employed to investigate air quality for scenarios in which climatological parameters have changed, or pollutant (and precursor) emissions are increased or decreased.

In a complex system such as the atmosphere modeling allows us to do “experiments” that in reality we could not do and increase our knowledge.

Earth Observation for environmental analysis

Palma Blonda

Palma Blonda

Research area coordinator

Office: Rende – Bari

Earth Observation (EO) consists in the collection of data, both remotely and in situ, from multiple sources and their processing in order to extract information useful to generate knowledge about the physical, chemical and biological processes of the Earth through variables, indexes, indicators. Its  main  aim includes long term monitoring of the state and  changes, both natural and anthropogenic,  of the planet. EO data and  techniques can support climate change studies, ecosystems conservation, risk mitigation and human health protection, the promotion of sustainable growth in the economic and social fields, the definition and evaluation of new policies for sustainable management of natural resources,

The research activities of the CNR-IIA in EO can be framed  within those of the wider  Group on Earth Observations Committee on Earth Observation Satellite (GEO) community. GEO represents an intergovernmental partnership that aims to increase the availability, access and use of EO data and techniques to improve the health of the Planet. Therefore, GEO promotes an open, free and coordinated sharing of EO data and infrastructures in order to improve research, decision making and support decision making for  many disciplines. To this end, the GEO community is committed to the development of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) for the benefit of all mankind. In this framework, Copernicus,  the Earth Observation Programme of the European Union, can contribute to the monitoring of our planet and its environment for the maximum benefit of all European citizens.

The activity of researchers related to the IIA thematic area Earth Observation: Development of Devices and Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, aims to integrate multi-source data through the use of artificial intelligence techniques,  data cube and cloud computing systems on European platforms named Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) that can provide access to Copernicus  and extract all the information useful to generate new knowledge.

The extraction and analysis of essential variables,  SDG indicators and temporal trends of changes will have the double objective of:

– providing transversal support to other thematic areas of the Institute, for example through the study of the spatial distribution of air pollutants;

– making available data, models and knowledge, through the use of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and Virtual Laboratories developed within the thematic area related to the sharing of geospatial information. This can support the activities of the Copernicus programme and the environmental policies of interest for the GEO group, such as the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement Climate Agreements,   the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

In this context, it is worth noting some components of the activity carried out by IIA researchers involved in EO. The first is related to the importance of the in-situ data acquisition activity, for the calibration and validation of remote sensing data and derived products (core and downstream services). The atmospheric component of EO data and the development of algorithms for the atmospheric correction of images are also of great interest. In this field, skills have been developed both in the study of the radiometric response of the different surfaces, natural and not, and in the study of the radiative transfer in the atmosphere. In addition, the use of data from new generation satellites (e.g., SENTINEL-5P) and ground data will be aimed at air quality monitoring in both urban and rural contexts.

The spectral range of interest is that of VIS, NIR, SWIR and TIR, offered by both multi-spectral and hyper-spectral missions. In recent years, IIA researchers have developed considerable experience in the analysis of hyper-spectral data from both airborne (MIVIS) and field/laboratory.. This knowledge has been applied to the development of innovative methods for the detection and evaluation of asbestos cement roof wear and the monitoring of areas subject to controlled and non-controlled landfills. Moreover, the application of complex multi-source data flows allows the applicability of these techniques to heterogeneous contexts such as precision agriculture, separation of plastic polymers, retrieval of above ground biomass and wear of bituminous conglomerates. Such competences can be very useful in the analysis of data from the new PRISMA mission of the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

Other relevant knowledge and experience have been acquired in the analysis of data from active Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems on airborne or satellite platforms. The most recent and future SAR applications in IIA concern:

(a) the extraction of high-resolution surface wind field, which is  considered an essential variable for the monitoring of climate and ecosystems processes in marine-coastal areas;

(b) the monitoring of infrastructure in urban ecosystems;

(c) the integration of SAR and optical data, for land cover classification in cloud-covered areas.

In the framework of projects funded by the European Community (HORIZON 2020) and by national and regional authorities, EO data and techniques applications mainly concern the monitoring of biodiversity,  natural and urban ecosystems, areas of archaeological interest and  areas with particular environmental problems, including the technological development of precision agriculture. In these application domains, EO data can contribute substantially to the analysis of trends of key indicators for the study of climate change and its impacts on ecosystems and  to the recent social challenges, such as the relationship between air pollution and human health, as well as the achievement of land degradation neutrality. Thus, IIA research activities can support decision-makers.

The active reference projects in HORIZON2020 are: ERA_PLANET, strand SMURBS and GEOESSENTIAL; e-shape, ECOSYSTEM pilot; eLTER-PLUS; eLTER-PPP. The latter can be considered the legacy of the  HORIZON2020 ECOPOTENTIAL, closed at the end of 2019.

The richness and complementarity of expertise, ranging from calibration, analysis and publication of data, products and models (algorithms) in GEO and EuroGEOSS is a strength of the Institute in addressing some of the challenges related to UN  Sustainable Development Goals.


Geospatial Information and Environmental Knowledge-Sharing (GENS)

Paolo Mazzetti

Paolo Mazzetti

Research area coordinator and ESSI-Lab responsible

Sede: Florence

Sergio Cinnirella

Sergio Cinnirella

GEO-Lab responsible

Office: Rende

As part of the Institute’s activities, it has always been the need to make information easily produced actionable information that can be used by users with different needs (researchers, policy makers, stakeholders) and interfaced with computer systems with complex architectures.
Full accessibility of information has been achieved through the development of interoperable systems. An interoperable system is such that when it is able to exchange information or services with other non-homogeneous systems or products, in a more or less complete and error-free, with reliability and optimizing resources.
This system makes use of standard communication protocols, storage, cataloging and export of services related to such information, or through a disambiguation of semantic content of concepts and through the application of a controlled language and shared.
Objectives and activities
The Thematic Group is born, then, with the aim of developing methodologies and conceptual and technological tools to support the Institute’s research activities making it fully interoperable baggage of information gathered as part of projects, measurement campaigns, laboratory investigations.
The Group’s business is carried out in the following three laboratories:


Main activity

ESSI-lab operates a line of research on inter-disciplinary approach between Information Sciences and Environmental Sciences for development of computer models and tools for the Environment and Earth Observation. In particular, for applications characterized by a marked multi-disciplinary approach’.

These applications are directed to the Company (the research community, public administrations, citizens, etc.) With particular reference to the “Societal Benefit Areas” and “Community of Practices” identified international initiative GEO (Group on Earth Observation): Disasters, Health , Energy, Climate, Water, Weather, Ecosystems, Agriculture, Biodiversity, etc. The research focuses on defining models and services for power generation distributed systems, processing and sharing of resources to different levels: data, information, knowledge. Objectives pursued in part by the European Directive INSPIRE and SEIS Communication from the European Commission. The activity is therefore fully aligned and contributes both to these European and international initiatives, to other similar such as EGI, GMES, etc..

The important cultural role and research done by ESSI-Lab within the CNR have been recognized by the Department of Earth and Environment who called him to coordinate an interdepartmental project CNR called GIIDA (Integrated and Interoperable Data environmental CNR). GIIDA also became one of the research topic of the Department of Earth and Environment of CNR. Recently, ESSI-lab was also involved in the Working Group for the design and implementation of a computer system for the management and dissemination of PNRA polar data; Group scientifically coordinated by Stefano Nativi from ESSI-Lab.

The laboratory has established and tested an innovative approach to interoperability multidisciplinary called: brokering approach.


ESSI-Lab designs, develops and maintains certain components made according to the Brokering -to approach which ESSI-Lab itself was the creator:

GI-cat is an implementation of a discovery broker can: a) make the discovery and evaluation of geospatial resources into a federation of heterogeneous information sources for interface and data models and metadata; b) publish a catalog different interfaces supporting diversified client. It currently supports over twenty specifications of the catalog / inventory from standard and Communities-of-Practice to connect sources of information, and is able to present eight different interfaces to the client. A Accessor Development Kit (ADK) is provided to extend GI-cat to other types of information sources currently not supported.

GI-Axe is an implementation of an access data broker that provides access and harmonization of datasets collections provided by download services and heterogeneous access to interface and data model. The dataset collections accessed through GI-Axe is provided on a Common Grid Environment (same Coordinate Reference System, same resolution, same size, etc.) By means of transformation services (subsetting, resampling, interpolation, projection, etc.), Implemented locally or exposed to external web services.

GI-Dac Discovery Augmentation is a component that allows you to enrich data discovery capabilities and geospatial services through access to external semantic services (thesauri, ontologies, gazetteers, etc.). Accept incoming query semantics and semantic accessing external services, it can expand it into multiple traditional geospatial queries.

GI-go Desktop is an application that implements the client functionality to geospatial services supported by GI-cat. In addition, it implements all additional interface features extensive GI-cat. It also allows to interact with the GI-ax for access to harmonized data.

GI-Portal is a web application that implements the client functionality to catalogs using as OpenSearch service interface. In addition, GI-Portal is able to interact with other ESSI-Lab products (GI-ax, GI-Dac).

Most of these components have been used in a framework developed within the European project EuroGEOSS, and have become an integral part of the GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI).


GEOLAB is engaged in research activities to study and develop methods and products in the field of geomatics understood as the study of the information with geo-referenced component. The activity phases consist of storage, processing, transmission and sharing.
In this context, the laboratory studies the integration of its software engineering methods, often used in different fields by e-Science, in order to build systems geared to the management of geo-referenced data.
This integration allows for interesting functional results through the use of Web technologies borrowed from areas other than academics.
The activities of the Laboratory, is also geared to making accessible the processes of integration of the data in geomatic platforms, developing interoperable systems and products that make use of more complex spatial components approachable even for different scientific skill operators. Products GEOLAB is developing two types of products, highly integrated.
GEOINT is an information platform, developed in order to realize a collection of services for the integration of geographic data in a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and to make these services more accessible in terms of ease of use, to end-users. To this end, the services are currently exposed through a web interface. And ‘it is built the web service interface. It is therefore a platform that wants to take charge of their duties integration of geographic data in an SDI. In addition, the platform serves as a base for other IT applications in geomatics that can be developed on the basis of the services exposed by GEOINT.
Among these services it has been developed SoSDataLayer, a web application that handles data from SOS sources, the OGC specification for data from systems SWE (Sensor Web). SosDataLayer allows, through a web interface to search and analyze data from sensors and exposed through specific O & M services through SOS. The system is fully integrated into GEOINT and exploits the services both in terms of geomatics that of computational resources.

Transfer of Technical and Scientific Knowledge for the Production and Implementation of Air-Quality Legislation

Antonio Fardelli

Antonio Fardelli

Research area coordinator

Office: Rome

The Legislative Decree of June 4, 2003, n. 127 defines the “Reorganisation of the National Research Council (CNR),” Art. 3 describes the activities of the C.N.R., and in particular:

  • The promotion, the improvement, for social and productive purpose, and the technological transfer of the result of the research conducted or coordinated within its scientific network;
  • Technical and scientific consultancy, when requested by the Ministry of Education, University, public agencies, companies, or other private entities.

These activities are also undertaken in an effort to achieve one of the CNR’s objectives: the application, and transfer of technical/scientific knowledge in drawing up and implementing the environmental legislation in national, European, and international contexts. With this assumption, the Institute offers its know-how to the stakeholders and, in particular, to the public administration.

Research group skills

In general terms, the know-how that the IIA offers to the public administration is related to the following technical-legislative areas:

  • Enforcement of the legislation relating to the integrated prevention and control of pollution arising from industrial activities (IED Directive – IPPC);
  • Enforcement of the legislation relating to the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances (Seveso Directive);
  • Enforcement of the regulation relating to the classification, labelling, and packaging of chemical substances, as well as their registration, evaluation, authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (CLP and REACH Regulations);
  • Sustainable production and consumption – “Green Public Procurement” (GPP);
  • Enforcement of the legislation relating to air quality assessment and management, with particular attention to special air quality monitoring networks;
  • Assessing and definition of negotiating proposals at international, regional and European level;
  • Enforcement of the legislation relating to fluorinated gases, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), emissions inventories (PRTR), greenhouse gas fuel emissions, fuel quality, and the promotion of renewable energy sources;
  • Enforcement of the legislation relating to CO2 emissions from cars, CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles, metallic mercury, and persistent organic pollutants (POP’s);
  • Transferring, sharing, and disseminating of the acquired experience.


To transfer and to apply the scientific and technical knowledge, skills, and “sensibility” acquired by the different skills of the National Research Council (CNR) (in particular of the IIA), in making and implementing the environmental legislation in national, European , and international contexts.

To support the public administration to improve the preparation and implementation of environmental legislation.

Moreover, the transfer and application of technical and scientific knowledge in drawing up and implementing the environmental legislation can provide, inter alia, technical standards better to apply, also in terms of reproducibility and specificity; as well as to give rise a process of improvements, both in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, as in the applicability of the standards themselves, allowing simplification and harmonisation.

The achievement of the objectives listed above, in accordance with the National Research Council Statute (Board Resolution No. 8, March 2011), also allows to carry out for the following activities:

  • the promotion, enhancement and utilization of research results;
  • the promotion and dissemination of knowledge to the public also through publishing initiatives;
  • providing technical and scientific expertises.


Contaminanti Emergenti

L’interesse di scienziati e legislatori si sposta sempre più dagli inquinanti regolamentati e POPs, i cui protocolli di misura e tossicità sono consolidati, a nuove classi di sostanze (soprattutto organiche) che impattano sulla salute e sull’ambiente con un ampio spettro di effetti nocivi (mutagenesi, sensibilizzazione, irritazione, allergie, problemi epatici e cardiaci, disfunzioni genetiche ed endocrine, della riproduzione e del metabolismo…): plastificanti, ignifughi, tensioattivi, fragranze, nuovi pesticidi, antiossidanti/conservanti, schermanti UV, detergenti, prodotti per la cosmesi e pulizia, droghe e farmaci. Sono i Contaminanti Emergenti (ECs) o Distruttori Endocrini (EDs). A causa della larga diffusione e relativa inerzia chimica, si accumulano e disperdono in tutti i comparti ambientali anche in regioni remote, ma impattano soprattutto negli ambienti di vita indoor.

Il CNR-IIA possiede una ricca esperienza sia per gli ECs (unica riguardo a droghe e farmaci in aria), sia per gli ambienti indoor e l’obbiettivo principale dell’ambito tematico e quello di investigare sia la composizione chimica sia il comportamento, di queste sostanze in atmosfera.

Allo scopo vengono sviluppati e applicati metodi e utilizzate tecniche strumentali all’avanguardia nel settore e di routine. Il Gruppo di Ricerca effettua ricerche in Italia e all’estero nell’ambito di progetti, convenzioni e cooperazioni scientifiche con Università, Amministrazioni Locali, Enti Governativi (Ministeri) e Imprese. Ciò, anche con l’obiettivo di meglio identificare l’esposizione agli EDs e l’impatto ambientale e sanitario. Siti privilegiati sono aree urbane e remote e, per l’indoor, abitazioni, uffici, scuole e ospedali. Sono studiate specie gassose, aerosoli e deposizioni cosi come nuove matrici di interesse ambientale come le microplastiche. La parallela speciazione di inquinanti tradizionali (IPA, Nitro-IPA, BTEX, idrocarburi alifatici, acidi grassi) e lo studio di matrici diverse servono a completare l’identificazione delle sorgenti e valutare il trasporto d’inquinamento.

Catia Balducci

Catia Balducci

referente Area di ricerca

Sede: MLIB