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Recent Advances in Indoor Chemistry

Sunday, April 19, 2015  
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Recent Advances in Indoor Chemistry


Just as the chemistry creates urban smog and aerosols that influence climate change, chemistry in building air can alter the indoor environment for better or worse. This review focuses on chemical pathways initiated by oxidants that infiltrate from outdoor air and other indoor-sourced reactants and surfaces that make these environments unique chemical reactors. Ozone reacts with fragrance molecules, tobacco smoke residues, and even human skin oils to generate a host of oxidized organic compounds, secondary organic aerosols, and irritants. Nitrous acid is formed on indoor surfaces and is subsequently cleaved by even the relatively dim light indoor. This raises the indoor concentration of the highly reactive hydroxyl radical. Nitrous acid can also react with tobacco smoke residue to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Some seek to harness this chemistry to help reduce indoor concentrations of unwanted indoor pollutants using novel surface coatings, but controlling that chemistry is challenging.

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