Determination and control of some pollutants in indoor environments

University dissertation from Division of Medical Microbiology

Abstract: Unsatisfactory indoor air quality (IAQ) may result from polluting emissions that are spread from building materials such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and/or microbial components or from various kinds of human activity such as smoking. Different methods are available to limit the exposure to unwanted pollutants and improve human wellbeing and health. One goal of this thesis was to determine two microbial markers (3-hydroxy fatty acids of bacterial lipopolysaccharide and ergosterol of fungal biomass) in waterpipe smoke. A second goal was to study the influence of relative humidity (RH) on room air concentrations of VOCs. A third goal was to study the performance of a new device called the surface emissions trap (cTrap) in controlling indoor pollutants. Smoking waterpipe was found to generate a bioaerosol rich in microbial components, policyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and small size particles. Rapidly increasing RH was found to influence air concentrations of VOCs emitted from building materials as studied both in a climate chamber and in a room with dampness-related floor emissions. The cTrap cloth was found to be efficient in reducing emissions of VOCs, stopping mycotoxins, and improving the perceived IAQ in a damp school building. The device was proved to be efficient in reducing and trapping moisture-driven floor emissions. Preliminary results also showed that the cloth may be used in reducing smoking generated VOCs and particles which may migrate between rooms within a building.