Tutorial 6:

Air Quality and Aerosols in the Indoor Environment

Peter DeCarlo, Johns Hopkins University, USA

Abstract: While outdoor air quality has been a major focus of environmental legislation and linkages to health, humans tend to spend most of their time in the indoor environment.  Consequently, exposure to air pollutants and aerosols occurs in the indoor environment.  This tutorial will explore the various sources of air pollutants to the indoor environment with a focus on aerosols, including transport of pollutants from the outdoors, and indoor aerosol generating activities. A discussion of the effect of ventilation parameters including filtration and air exchange and outdoor-to-indoor environmental gradients in relative humidity and temperature can alter the indoor concentration and composition of aerosols through repartitioning of semi-volatile components.  Finally, this tutorial will discuss some of the unique aerosol chemistry that occurs in the indoor environment including occupants and indoor surface residues (e.g. third-hand smoke) and how it differs from outdoor aerosol chemistry and processes.  At the end of this tutorial, participants will gain an understanding of the main sources of aerosols and air pollutants to the indoor environment and how aerosols interact and are processed in the indoor environment.

Short bio: Dr. Peter DeCarlo is an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University in Environmental Health and Engineering.  Dr. DeCarlo uses state-of-the-art instrumentation to measure the chemical composition of particulates and gases in indoors, outdoors, and in the laboratory to better understand the intersection between energy, air quality, health, and climate impacts of human emissions.  Dr. DeCarlo has begun investigating the relationship between outdoor and indoor air pollutants to understand transport of outdoor pollutants to the indoor environment, and to identify indoor specific sources such as residual tobacco smoke, and direct human emissions. He also is working at the intersection of science and policy and was an AAAS Science Policy Fellow at the US EPA in the office of the Science Advisor working on issues related to clean cookstoves in the developing world and public sharing of environmental data.