Exposing the Brain: The cognitive impacts of indoor air pollution

Jeffrey Siegel, Professor of Civil and Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto , will present his research about cognitive impact of indoor air pollution in Fribourg. Meet the scientist, invited by Dusan Licina, Head of HOBEL, on Friday, 19.05.2023, from 11:00 to 12:00, at the blue Hall of bluefactory (room HBL0 21A).

Poor indoor air is often our largest environmental health risk, yet known chronic health consequences accumulate over a lifetime of exposure in different buildings, limiting public interest, investment, and regulatory action. Even with current increased focus on indoor air quality because of the pandemic, it is likely that the attention will diminish over time, as it has with other indoor hazards. However, exposures to indoor contaminants also negatively influence cognitive function and high-level decision making. These influences, although currently poorly understood, offer a sustained model for indoor air improvement with the costs for such improvements covered by the economic benefits from cognitive function improvements in environments such as schools and office buildings. This presentation discusses the current state of research on cognitive function impacts including research on carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and emissions from essential oil diffusers with a particular focus on understanding the fundamental connections between indoor exposures and neurocognitive processes.


Jeffrey Siegel, Ph.D., is Professor of Civil and Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto. He is internationally recognized for his work on indoor air quality generally and air cleaning specifically and is a fellow of ASHRAE and a member of the Academy of Fellows of the International Society for Indoor Air and Climate (ISIAQ). His research interests include healthy and sustainable buildings, filtration and air cleaning, ventilation and indoor air quality in residential and commercial buildings, control of indoor particulate matter, and the impact of building systems on indoor microbiology and chemistry. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles on indoor air quality and related subjects and has been active in disseminating information about filtration and ventilation solutions for COVID-19.