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Scientists Put "Allergy-Friendly" Hotel Rooms to the Test

In partnership with industry, University at Buffalo researchers are conducting one of the first scientific air-quality tests of "allergy-friendly" hotel rooms.//

The project is expected to provide data applicable to other environments where indoor air quality is critical, such as in health-care facilities and aboard airplanes.

Using new "allergy-friendly" guest rooms in the Buffalo Niagara Marriott in Amherst as their laboratory, the Industry-University Center for Biosurfaces at UB (IUCB) is testing how novel cleaning processes and air-purification devices developed by five Western New York companies affect indoor air quality.

The study was facilitated by new monitoring equipment funded by a $1.27 million Capital Facility program grant from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) through the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems.

While a small, but growing number of hotels offer allergy-friendly accommodations, little scientific evidence exists proving the effectiveness of such rooms.

The hotel industry and the companies that provide the allergy-friendly technologies are banking that scientific proof of the rooms' efficacy will appeal to the estimated 25 million Americans who suffer from allergies.

"These companies are anxious to demonstrate and confirm the scientific basis for their techniques and so are we, so that they can take their products to the next step commercially," said Robert Baier, Ph.D., executive director of the IUCB and UB professor of oral diagnostic sciences in the School of Dental Medicine.

The UB researchers measured more than 25 components of air quality inside each of four "allergy-friendly" rooms in the Buffalo Niagara Marriott, including large and small particles, volatile organic compounds, (chemical off-gassing), radon, ozone, carbon monoxide and viable and non-viable fungi. Continuous air
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