Students Staff

18 March 2013

What are you breathing in while at home?

Colchester Campus

Are you thinking about giving your house a good spring clean this weekend?

If so, you may want to think again as scientists at the University of Essex are investigating to what extent cleaning and other factors are contributing to poor air quality inside the home.

The research at Essex, led by Professor Ian Colbeck and Dr Corinne Whitby, is part of a €3m EU-funded project to look at indoor air quality and how it affects people living and working in those environments.

Professor Colbeck explained: “We are looking at indoor environments to see what affects the air quality, such as cooking, cleaning, and people moving about in those areas. The research at Essex will be focusing on bio-aerosols like bacteria, viruses and fungi, such as mould from damp buildings, and how they get airborne. The findings from this research could have an impact on places like hospitals and how colds are spread.”

The research team at Essex will also look at ways of improving the measurements of these bio-aerosols to get a better understanding of what is in the air in the home, what are the sources of these particles and how it can affect health. This project, which will involve taking air quality measurements in homes, offices and public transport, will build on previous research expertise at Essex into indoor air quality in Pakistan.

The four-year project – called Hexacomm − involves Essex scientists working with ten partners from across Europe who will be investigating air quality in metros and offices and how air quality affects the lungs. As part of the scheme, an PhD student from Essex will go on a work placement with a European company involved with environment monitoring of particles of air.


Note to Editors

For more information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 872400 or e-mail

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