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Cleaning floors with bleach significantly alters indoor air chemistry

“When we wash with bleach, the oxidation occurs not only on the surface we are washing but everywhere else too”. Carslaw agrees, adding that bleach washing produces a much “wider group of chemicals than previously thought”, and that “chemists need to work much more closely with toxicologists” in order to determine the health impacts of the resulting, chemically-altered air.

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How dampness in homes impacts indoor air pollution

US researchers are exploring to what degree dampness in homes alters the chemistry and composition of the indoor air. The chemicals formed on wet indoor surfaces could be partially responsible for the increased respiratory symptoms seen in damp homes, an effect that has never been fully explained by mold and mildew.

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A Model Life

Carslaw furthers our knowledge by working with postdoc, Magdalena Kruza and PhD student, Zixu Wang, to use and develop her detailed chemical model with 31,000 lines of code, to simulate the chemistry of indoor air in exquisite detail.

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Why is indoor air chemistry important?

If you’re like the typical human, you likely spend about 90% of your time inside. Our homes, businesses, exercise facilities, cars, and gathering places are all examples of indoor environments where we’re constantly breathing the air. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the chemistry occurring in these spaces and what it means to our health and well-being.

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Humans Identified as the Largest Source of Volatile Organic Chemicals in Indoor Air

US researchers found that people and their possessions directly emitted 57% of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) they measured in the air of a university lecture theatre. We spend approximately 90% of our life inside, where concentrations of VOCs are consistently found to be much higher than in outdoor air. This research is one of the first few to detail the important role that emissions from direct human occupancy plays here.

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The CIE Guide to Indoor Air 2018

Indoor Air 2018 will be taking place July 22 – July 27 in Philadelphia, PA. The conference features many talks and sessions relevant to the Chemistry of Indoor Environments (CIE) Program, as well as a number of presentations by CIE grantees. Some speakers and sessions are highlighted below. You can also subscribe to the Indoor Air 2018 (CIE Guide) Google Calendar, or browse the full conference program. We look forward to seeing you there!

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