ChBE Seminar Series: Outside-In and other sources of particulate matter in the indoor environment

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
11:00 a.m.
via Zoom
Akua Asa-Awuku

Speaker: Peter DeCarloAssociate Professor, Dept of Environmental Health & Engineering,
John Hopkins University


People spend 90% of their time indoors, and therefore their exposure to outdoor air pollutants predominantly occurs in the indoor environment. This presentation will discuss indoor and outdoor measurements of particle composition to understand the processes driving the composition of particles we. Particle composition measurements made in both a classroom, and at a test home as part of the HOMEChem project will be discussed. The composition measurements provide a detailed understanding of outdoor particle penetration into the indoor environment as a function of temperature and relative humidity and a look at indoor originated components including contributions of residual cigarette smoke (termed thirdhand smoke) and from human occupants to the indoor aerosol. Direct emissions from cooking and cleaning were observed and characterized during the HOMEChem experiment, and will also be discussed. Observations indicate that in the absence of strong indoor sources, outdoor particles penetrating the indoor environment remains the main source of particles in the indoor environment. However, indoor sources can dominate the overall mass concentration when present, and an understanding of the chemical differences between outdoor and indoor aerosol is important in assessing the potential health impacts.


Peter DeCarlo is an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University in then Department of Environmental Health and Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. Dr. DeCarlo has a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science, and a B.S. in Biochemistry. He 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. He has made air quality and climate related measurements from planes, trucks, and stationary sites all over the world to better understand direct emissions, sources, and subsequent chemical reactions of pollutants in the atmosphere. He also is interested in the intersection of science and policy and was an AAAS Science Policy Fellow at the US EPA. Dr. DeCarlo has served as a representative to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), as an advisory board member for the Thirdhand Smoke Research Consortium and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Dr. DeCarlo has co-authored over 100 peer reviewed publication and has been identified as a highly cited researcher by Clarivate Analytics. 

Audience: Campus 

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