Assessment of personal exposure to particle and gaseous air pollutants in residences and offices

Viviana Gonzalez (EPFL, Human-Oriented Built Environment Lab) has successfully presented the private defense of her PhD thesis on the assessment of personal exposure to particle and gaseous air pollutants in residences and offices. The public defense will take place on Friday, 24 March 2023, at 17:00 at the blue Hall of bluefactory in Fribourg (room HBL0 21A). Link for online streaming on demand.

Poor indoor air quality has been associated with health issues and decreased work performance. Personal exposure that takes place both in outdoor and indoor environments is the result of dynamic processes and complex interactions between people and surroundings, contingent upon spatio-temporal variations of air pollutants and their diversity, source-receptor proximity, individual activities, and others. However, existing knowledge on the impact of air pollutants on human health is based on the results of epidemiological studies that associate data from morbidity and mortality with measurements from stationary ambient monitors, which may poorly resemble the inhaled air. Nevertheless, even when considering various ambient air pollutants, the majority of their inhalation occurs indoors as a result of the time people spend in buildings.

Relative to outdoor measurement stations, indoor monitoring stations, typically limited to one location that hardly captures the effect of personal activities and proximity of emission sources, better correlate with daily human exposures. The personal cloud effect refers to an increment of pollutants concentration inhaled compared to stationary indoor or outdoor monitors; nevertheless, the nature and significance of this effect are not yet well understood despite existing studies pointing toward its significant impact on human daily exposures. Thus, understanding the dynamics of air pollutants in the human vicinity can help us better characterize inhalation exposures and identify and mitigate the underlying sources.

Discover Viviana's methodology and results during her PhD public defense next Friday.