Multidisciplinary assessment of human exposure to organic pollutants in the indoor environment
We are exposed to environmental chemicals in the gas phase and via airborne particles, settled dust and exposed surfaces. In terms of deposition and potential adverse effects it matters whether a molecule enters the lung in the gas phase or particle phase. Oral intake of substances from dust is strongly dependent on age and behavior. The importance of the dermal intake pathway via room air is now known for air pollutants like phthalates, nicotine and benzophenone-3. Dermal exposure also may be significantly influenced by adsorption to and from clothing.
Today, biomonitoring methods are available for many chemicals found indoors. Research addressing the sources, redistribution, and fate of chemicals found indoors and human biomonitoring complement one another within the field of exposure analysis. With the appropriate experimental design, external and internal exposure as well as the intake and uptake of a substance can be determined. The identification and temporal tracking of so-called emerging chemicals can be enabled by analysis of stored house dust and urine samples, from environmental specimen banks. Such methods create the possibility of looking ahead and acting preemptively to reduce risk.
Professor and Head of Department, Material Analysis and Indoor Chemistry, Fraunhofer WKI
Tunga Salthammer earned a Doctor of Natural Science degree in Physical Chemistry from the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany. He joined the Fraunhofer WKI in 1990 and was appointed as head of the Department of Material Analysis and Indoor Chemistry in 1996. From January 2010 until October 2010, he was the acting director of WKI, and since March 2011, he is the deputy director of the institute. From 2003–2009, he was a Professor of Indoor Hygiene at the University of Applied Sciences Braunschweig/Wolfenbuettel. Since 2007, Salthammer has been an Adjunct Professor at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. In June 2008, he received his habilitation from the Faculty of Life Sciences at the Technical University of Braunschweig and was appointed as a Professor in December 2012. Salthammer has been a Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Denmark (2006-2007) and at Tsinghua University (May 2007 and May 2017). He is a member (currently chairman) of the Indoor Air Hygiene Commission of the German Federal Environment Agency. His research interests include analytical chemistry, VOC/SVOC emission studies on indoor materials using test chambers and cells, indoor chemistry, airborne particles, and settled dust.