Frequently Asked Questions
What is IndoorChem?
IndoorChem is a project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. We aim to support and cultivate a community of researchers, business professionals, students, academic institutions, and individuals who are interested in the chemistry of the indoor environment. This website is the hub for our community.
Who runs IndoorChem?
IndoorChem is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Learn more about the people behind the IndoorChem website and community building efforts here.
How does indoor chemistry differ from outdoor chemistry?
There are many ways that the chemistry of the indoor environment differs from that of the outdoor environment. Indoor spaces are smaller and tend to have little ventilation, so pollutants can accumulate in indoor spaces. Sources like cooking emissions, building materials, personal care products, and even human emissions matter much more in these more enclosed environments. There is also a much higher surface area to volume ratio indoors than outdoors, allowing surface chemistry to play an important role. While there are many key differences in indoor and outdoor environments, these spaces also interact; outdoor pollution can come indoors through air handlers and windows to influence indoor air quality, and likewise, our indoor spaces ventilate to the outdoors and influence the outdoor air quality.
Where can I learn more about indoor chemistry?
To learn more about indoor chemistry, you can check out the informational videos on our youtube channel, or read the posts on our blog. You can also read the latest publications on the chemistry of indoor air in our publications library, or sign up for our newsletter to get the most recent updates from the IndoorChem community. If you are on Twitter, follow along the conversations on our profile @IndoorChem.
What can I do to improve my indoor air quality?
There are many reasonable steps you can take to minimize pollutants in your indoor environment. Avoid combustion activities, including smoking, burning incense, and lighting candles indoors. Make sure you have a working ventilation hood and use it whenever you cook. Always buy low-VOC building materials, such as paints and carpets.
Many low-volatility air pollutants tend to accumulate in household dust. We recommend dusting the home using a damp cloth, instead of sweeping, and washing your hands with soap and water after cleaning.
It is also important to note that your indoor air quality is intimately linked to the outdoor air quality of where you live. Watch for the outdoor air pollution levels using websites like www.airnow.gov and, if necessary, we recommend using a mechanical ventilation system fitted with a high quality air filter (rated MERV 12 or higher).
I have a question that’s not on this page.
Please submit any additional questions you’d like to see on this page by contacting our members.