Poor indoor air quality in buildings can be harmful to human health.

UT researchers are studying the many aspects of indoor air quality (IAQ) to find solutions for a healthier life.

We spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors and are exposed to a variety of indoor air pollutants that can cause respiratory issues and other health effects.

According to a recent article in the Daily Texan, engineering professor Richard Corsi and his team of five professors and more than twenty graduate students in the Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering Program at UT are studying IAQ in general, and indoor ozone levels in particular.

“When ozone levels go up in cities, death rates and hospital visits go up, and most exposure to ozone comes from buildings,” Corsi was quoted. “Ozone is a really chemically reactive compound that forms new chemicals when it comes into contact with different substances. Some are harmless but some are very toxic.”

Indoor exposure to ozone can affect health: Researchers

The researchers say that ozone indoors ozone reacts negatively with carpet and most paper products, creating byproducts that can be detrimental to the respiratory system.

He his team are working to identify materials that remove ozone and other indoor air contaminants and to promote the use of those materials when new buildings are being made. One of the promising materials is clay, which removes ozone and does not create bad byproducts and which can be used on large surfaces such as walls and ceilings.

Cooling and heating systems, which are the only standard ways to filter indoor air, only operate 20 to 25 percent of the time, Brent Stephens, a civil engineering graduate student, said.

He said the only way to ensure better air quality is to use more energy and keep those systems operating more frequently and to use high grade air filters.

“At the end of the day, even in a summer in Austin, it doesn’t matter what kind of filter you have if the system doesn’t run.”

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