Over the last few years of frequent and intense wildfire seasons, many parts of the U.S. have experienced hazardous air quality for days on end. At the same time a number of low-cost air quality monitors have come on the market, allowing consumers to check the pollutant levels in their own homes and neighborhoods. So, air quality scientists at Berkeley Lab wanted to know: are these low-cost monitors any good?
As society prepares to reopen indoor spaces and ease back into some sense of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of researchers at Berkeley Lab is launching a study of the risk of airborne transmission of viruses within buildings and how to mitigate those risks.
Roughly 85% of recently installed HVAC systems in K-12 classrooms investigated in California did not provide adequate ventilation, according to a study from UC Davis and the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
A Q&A with Berkeley Lab indoor air scientists on protecting homes, schools, and other buildings, from air pollution during wildfires.
Marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, a new class of tobacco products called heat-not-burn devices is quickly gaining in popularity across the globe. A study by Berkeley Lab’s Indoor Environment Group shows that, although the chemical emissions from these devices are lower than those produced by conventional cigarettes, they are still high enough to raise concern.
Indoor air researchers at Berkeley Lab recently tested seven consumer-grade air quality monitors to see if they could detect fine particles emitted by common household activities, including cooking, burning candles, and smoking. All of the monitors tested were found to have either underreported or missed the presence of very small particles that can penetrate deeply into the lungs.
A Berkeley Lab study has found that the the solvents found in most electronic cigarette “e-liquids” emit toxic chemicals such as acrolein and formaldehyde when burned.
Berkeley Lab researchers have been awarded $1.3 million for two sets of studies to better understand the health impacts of thirdhand smoke, the noxious residue that clings to virtually all indoor surfaces long after the secondhand smoke from a cigarette has cleared out.
Scientists at Berkeley Lab, who have made important findings on the dangers of thirdhand smoke and how it adsorbs strongly onto indoor surfaces, have published a new study assessing the health effects of thirdhand smoke constituents present in indoor air. Looking at levels of more than 50 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and airborne particles for 18 hours after smoking had taken place, they found that thirdhand smoke continues to have harmful health impacts for many hours after a cigarette has been extinguished.
What leads to “sick building syndrome”—and can fresh air help? Will a particle filter benefit those with allergies or asthma? Indoor air scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have investigated these and other questions recently. Here are some of the highlights.