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ACPS Chemistry Lecture: The Dirt on Cleaning - Prof. Tara Kahan. March 16, 2022 7 PM

ACPS Chemistry Lecture

The Dirt on Cleaning: Increased Disinfection Attempts Affect Indoor Air Quality and Pose Health Risks

Professor Tara Kahan (University of Saskatchewan)

March 16, 2022 7 PM Saskatchewan time.


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The Dirt on Cleaning: Increased Disinfection Attempts Affect Indoor Air Quality and Pose Health Risks

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to an increase in surface cleaning in residential and non-residential buildings alike. Evidence that the virus is overwhelmingly transmitted via aerosols rather than via fomites (i.e., is airborne rather than being transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces) has not necessarily led to a decrease in surface cleaning; rather, it has spurred the use of a wide variety of air purifiers, ranging from simple filtration devices (e.g., HEPA filters) to chemical-based air cleaners such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) generators and bipolar ionization devices. These methods vary greatly in their effectiveness in reducing bacterial and viral loads on surfaces and in the air and in their effects on indoor air quality (IAQ). While many cleaning agents have been linked to adverse health effects, a molecular-level understanding of what is in the air during and following cleaning and disinfection activities remains largely nonexistent, largely due to a lack of methods suitable for indoor use with the sensitivity required to detect and quantify important analytes. In this presentation I will provide an overview of common indoor disinfection techniques, present my views on their relative effectiveness and safety, and discuss recent research from my lab and others on the effects of various disinfection techniques on the composition of indoor air and implications for human health. 

Tara Kahan biography

Tara Kahan received a B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Regina, and a PhD in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Toronto. Following postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California Irvine (with John Hemminger) and the University of Colorado Boulder (with Veronica Vaida), Dr. Kahan became an assistant professor in chemistry at Syracuse University in 2012. In 2018, Dr. Kahan accepted a position of associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, where she is currently a Canada Research Chair in Environmental Analytical Chemistry. Her research interests include chemistry at ice surfaces, aquatic chemistry, chemistry at urban surfaces, and indoor chemistry. 




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