The skinny on indoor ozone

Oils break it down, but the resulting byproducts may be worse than the starting lung irritant

By Janet Raloff, 11:07 AM March 25, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — Smog’s ozone isn’t just a problem outdoors. This respiratory irritant seeps into homes and other buildings. Indoor concentrations tend to be far lower than those outside, largely because much gets destroyed as the gas molecules collide with surfaces and undergo transformative chemical reactions. New research identifies a hitherto ignored surface that apparently plays a major role in quashing indoor ozone: It’s human skin — or, more precisely, the oils in it.

While the remov...

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