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Indoor Atmospheric Chemistry: An Emerging Global Concern

Feb 09, 2018     Email"> PrintText Size

Sasho Gligorovski from Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry of Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleague Jon Abbatt from University of Toronto published a perspective article in Science giving an overview about the chemistry occurring in the dwellings which may affect the human health. The main parameters that influence this chemistry are highlighted: human activities (cleaning, cooking), human occupancy, outdoor pollution and sunlight.
The building science research community has largely been dominated by one dominant view: what are the chemical emissions of building and furnishing materials, and what is the ventilation rate to remove these pollutants? Indeed concerns about indoor formaldehyde and radon have been addressed for decades. However, it is only in the past few years that it has become apparent that the indoor environment should be viewed as a highly complex, coupled chemical system, driven by not only emissions and ventilation but also by a rich set of chemical transformations.
Undoubtedly some of this chemistry is beneficial to people's health by cleaning the air of toxic pollutants, whereas other processes may be making these pollutants more toxic still. Just as the outdoor atmospheric chemistry community has focused in recent years on developing an understanding of specific environments, such as forests or Polar Regions, it is just now starting to address the environment in which people live 90% of their time.

In this manner this perspective article will inform the readers of research questions of direct relevance to their lives. It also points out that this complex chemistry will become even more important as people live more and more of their lives indoors, i.e. increased indoor exposure will arise as societies industrialize, and as people live in tighter homes, air condition more, and protect themselves from outdoor air pollution.


(Editor: LIU Jia)


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