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

monitoring on a minute-to-minute basis was conducted during the entire test period.

Measurements also were taken from a fifth standard room, which was used as a control.

Analytical techniques used on the samples retrieved from the rooms include infrared spectroscopy, which provides a chemical fingerprint, respirable particle counts, ozone measurements and scanning electron microscope pictures that can characterize samples particle by particle.

And since outdoor air is the source for indoor air, UB researchers also gathered data on the quality of air outside of the hotel.

"The quality of the outside air changes with each air mass or front that you always hear the weather forecasters talking about," said Baier. "Some of these fronts carry a lot of suspended fine particles, including bacteria or pollutants, but you won't know that until you're right in the middle of it, and the following air masses can last two to three days. Our goal with this project is to answer the question, 'Can we improve the inside air to a higher quality than the outside air?'"

In early analyses conducted in the treated rooms, breathable particle counts dropped by about 75%, from 2.5 million per cubic foot in one case to about 600,000, he said.

"Although the project is only in its early stages, preliminary results show that such dramatic reductions in suspended small particle concentrations can be attained and maintained in rooms outfitted with some of these devices and treatments," said Baier.

"In fact, we are hopeful that some of these successful interventions can be applied to controlling and improving the air quality in public-health facilities, as well, especially with regard to resisting cross-infections of patients and visitors," he said.

The researchers are analyzing their data and have engaged an outside accredited microbiology lab to work with them.

Baier noted that final resul
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