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Indoor Air

February 13, 2018

Scientists are only starting to understand the complex chemistry of our indoor spaces.



Human health and indoor air. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Air pollution isn’t just emissions from factories, power plants and cars; our indoor environment has its share of toxic compounds, from secondhand smoke, chlorine bleach– even personal care products. University of Toronto chemist Jonathan Abbatt reports in the journal Science that researchers are just beginning to understand the complex chemistry that occurs in our homes and offices.

JONATHAN ABBATT (University of Toronto):

We’re bringing really advanced new instrumentation indoors in the last few years. And we’re learning, you know, what is indoors?


He says even our skin and clothes have all sorts of natural and synthetic chemicals that can react with those in the air, producing new compounds. Abbatt says we spend up to ninety-percent of our time indoors, and this new research could help in the design of products and spaces that improve air quality and health. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon