The University of Colorado Boulder has released a study which shows human bodily emissions can combine with bleach cleaners to produce new airborne chemicals.
According to the study, a person who is exercising can emit as many chemicals as five sedentary people. And when this happens in a place such as a gym, the bodily emissions combine with any cleaning products to produce the new chemicals.
Research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and lead author of the study, Zachary Finewax, told Indoor Air that humans are a large source of indoor emissions.
“And chemicals in indoor air, whether from our bodies or cleaning products, don’t just disappear, they linger and travel around spaces like gyms, reacting with other chemicals,” he says.
The research team from CU Boulder used a weight room in the Dal Ward Athletic Center for their testing. It was fitted with air-sampling equipment to collect data from the weight room and the supply air.
According to the research paper’s abstract, “human‐derived emission factors were higher than previous studies of measuring indoor air quality in rooms with individuals at rest and correlated with increased CO2 emission factors”.
The CU Boulder team found athletes’ bodies produced 3–5 times more emissions when exercising, compared to when they were stationary. The amino acids released from body sweat combined with the chlorine bleach-based products to form a new cocktail of chemicals.
Further research is needed to determine the specific impacts this might have on indoor air quality, says the team. The researchers have yet to confirm whether the mix of the two chemicals could be harmful to human health.