Analytical Chemistry Seminar: Charles J. Weschler
Jointly sponsored by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, CIRES, and the Environmental Program
Chemical Reactions Among Pollutants Indoors – The Human Touch
Charles J. Weschler, Rutgers University
Regardless of whether a pollutant originates outdoors or indoors, most of our exposure to it occurs indoors. Indoor exposures to ozone and airborne particles of outdoor origin partially explain the mortality ascribed to these pollutants in epidemiological studies. The human body influences indoor concentrations of these and other chemicals in occupied indoor environments. Constituents of human skin oil react with ozone. Lower indoor ozone concentrations lead to less generation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) from ozone-initiated reactions with terpenes and other unsaturated indoor pollutants. SOA levels influence the levels of co-occurring semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs). Occupants also inadvertently transfer their skin oils and skin flakes to surfaces, impacting indoor surface chemistry, even when humans are no longer present. In brief, dynamic physical and chemical processes involving occupants and indoor pollutants markedly influence occupant exposures in indoor environments.