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Impacts of cooking on indoor air chemistry

Department of Chemistry

About the Project

In developed countries, it has been estimated that (pre-Covid) we spend more than 90% of our time indoors, whether at home, in the workplace or commuting between the two. Despite this fact, most of the regulation and research around air quality and consequent health effects has been on the outdoor environment. Furthermore, there are some high concentration activities such as cooking and cleaning, where exposure to some harmful pollutants can be particularly high indoors and we still understand relatively little about pathways to exposure in the indoor environment. You will use a combination of experiments and modelling to investigate the impact of cooking on indoor air chemistry. In particularly, you will investigate the concentrations of both primary and secondary gas- and particle-phase pollutants that arise when cooking and identify the conditions that lead to particularly high concentrations of harmful pollutants. Key experimental and analytical tools will be chemical ionisation mass-spectrometry, gas chromatography and low-cost sensors. The second part of this study will investigate whether cooking practices can be modified to reduce the concentrations of harmful products.
You will work closely with an interdisciplinary team of leading environmental and atmospheric scientists in York and with researchers investigating the indoor air chemistry of cooking and cleaning on the new IMPECCABLE project, a wider community involving the Universities of Chester and Nottingham.

You will develop transferable skills in design and performing of field experiments, analytical chemistry, chemical mechanism development and evaluation, numerical / data skills and model analysis. The University of York provides comprehensive training programmes for students throughout their PhD studies, with a range of courses on both hard and soft skills (e.g. improving transferable skills, putting research into a wider scientific context and preparing for thesis presentations and viva). You will have a strong scientific background (good degree in Chemistry, Natural / Environmental Sciences) and a keen interest in environmental issues. We appreciate that this project is highly interdisciplinary and encompasses several different science and technology areas. However the York team is well supported with experienced scientists and technical support; all training will be provided, and no previous experience with specific techniques, instruments or models is necessary.


O’Leary et al., Indoor Air, 29, 3, 423, 2019

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