Indoor Exposure to Pollutants Associated with Oxidative Chemistry: Field Studies and Window-Opening Behavior

EPA Grant Number: R835751
Title: Indoor Exposure to Pollutants Associated with Oxidative Chemistry: Field Studies and Window-Opening Behavior
Investigators: Morrison, Glenn C , Ercal, Nuran , Lobo, Prem , Williams, Brent
Current Investigators: Ercal, Nuran , Morrison, Glenn C , Williams, Brent
Institution: Missouri University of Science and Technology , Washington University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: November 1, 2014 through October 31, 2017 (Extended to October 31, 2019)
Project Amount: $999,999
RFA: Indoor Air and Climate Change (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Climate Change , Air


We seek to further scientific understanding of indoor smog-induced chemistry, and the associated human exposure to chemical products, as it is influenced by natural ventilation, a key adaptation associated with climate change. Further, we will assess the prevalence and future trends in residential natural ventilation (e.g. window opening) to improve exposure estimates and improve regulatory strategies for controlling ambient photochemical smog. Specific objectives are to 1) quantify chemical precursors and chemical products associated with infiltration of photochemical oxidants from ambient air in residential settings, 2) evaluate the influence of natural ventilation on indoor chemistry, and 3) quantify current residential natural ventilation behavior and its relationship to region, local climate, construction type and other site-specific phenomena.


In summer and winter residential field studies, indoor air pollution as initiated by outdoor photochemical smog will be measured along with relevant building related information. Ozone, NOx, reactive oxygen species (ROS), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), aerosol size distributions, aerosol composition, meteorological data, air exchange rates and other parameters will be measured using traditional and advanced analytical techniques and instrumentation. The influence of natural ventilation on this chemistry will be targeted by examining the effect of door and window opening. The current extent of window- and door-opening behavior, along with motivations will be collected in a nationwide survey.

Expected Results:

Field research is anticipated to show how much natural ventilation strategies in homes increases resident exposure to ozone, rapidly formed reactive oxygen species and submicron aerosols. We will also be able to quantify the non-uniform distribution of pollutants in homes that lack central air systems, especially while naturally ventilated. By comparing results with existing detailed chemical models, we will improve models and predictions of personal exposure to pollutants that promote oxidative stress in lung tissue. Survey research will improve our understanding of the frequency, timing and motivations behind window opening behavior. By combining field results with survey data, the impact of climate change influenced behavior or building changes can be assessed, ultimately improving risk assessment.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Epidemiology, low-income housing, lung function, oxidative stress, terpenes, occupant, infiltration

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2015 Progress Report
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2017 Progress Report
  • 2018