CE 397: Environmental Risk Assessment

Department of Civil Engineering

The University of Texas at Austin

Lecture Notes: Indoor Air, Richard Corsi, Mar 5, 1998


There are many common household sources of chemicals of concern (COC) indoors. These include humans and pets as sources of dust and particulate matter, consumer products, such as household cleaners, disinfection by-products from water supplies, building materials, emissions form cooking activities and intrusion of vapors from soils.

Human exposures to COC may be greater indoors that they are outdoors.

Indoor environments such as homes or offices can be modeled as continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTR). The whole building or just a room can be one CSTR.

The air exchange rate through the building is important to the analysis of concentrations of COC in the indoor environment. The air exchange is influenced by the heating and cooling system, the difference in temperature between the indoor and outdoor environments, the outdoor average wind speed, the building "leakiness" and the use of appliances and fans.


The emissions of COC from household activities can be modeled using simple algorithms.

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