Merchant Adventurers' Science Discovery Lecture
In developed countries, we spend about 90% of our time indoors, for instance at home, at work, or commuting between the two. It follows that our exposure to air pollutants, whether generated indoors or outdoors, happens mainly in the indoor environment. Despite increased awareness of the importance of maintaining good indoor air quality following the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the air quality legislation still focuses on outdoor air pollution, particularly that caused by traffic and industrial emissions.
This presentation will introduce the audience to the many ways in which we can be exposed to air pollution indoors, including through activities such as cooking and cleaning, as well as some less obvious routes of exposure. In addition, it will show how indoor air quality is going to become more important in the future. The presentation will highlight methods for reducing our exposure to pollution indoors as well as some to avoid. Finally, it will show how the University of York is leading efforts to understand indoor air pollution and its impacts and to provide solutions for better air quality in our homes.
About the speaker
Nicola Carslaw is a Professor of Indoor Air Chemistry in the Department of Environment and Geography, at the University of York. She has worked in the field of air pollution for the last 30 years, with her research initially focused on outdoor air quality, but for the last 15 years, on indoor air quality.
Along with her group, she studies the indoor air pollution that can arise following cooking and cleaning activities, emissions from building and furnishing materials, and breath and skin emissions from people. She currently leads grants worth £4M from the UK Research Councils. The IMPECCABLE project has involved studying the impact of cooking and cleaning on indoor air quality, whilst the INGENIOUS project is studying the air quality in homes in Bradford, linking these measurements to the behaviour and health effects of the residents. As well as these UK projects, she leads ~200 scientists in a European network project called INDAIRPOLLNET, which will shape indoor air quality research in Europe over the coming years and is also a key member of the US-led $50M Alfred P. Sloan Chemistry of the Indoor Environment (CIE) Program.
Finally, she is a member of the UK Department of Health’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP), and a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Royal College of Physicians Working Group for indoor air quality.