Indoor air quality in an Antarctic Research Station: Fungi, particles and aldehyde concentrations associated with building materials and architectural design

Antarctic buildings are enclosed structures, which provide shelter and logistic support to researchers and personnel who remain indoors for long periods and can be affected by air pollution caused by construction materials and activities inside buildings. This study aims to investigate the indoor air quality at the Brazilian Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station based on measurements of aldehydes, particulate matter and fungi conducted during the Antarctic summer in 2012. The sampling site was divided in conditioned (personnel living quarters) and unconditioned (service and utilities areas) compartments and outdoor sites. A field log book was used to record the activities in the station. Furniture and plywood coverings may have contributed to high average concentrations of formaldehyde. Cooking resulted in high average levels of acrolein and fine particles in most of the monitored environments. Other activities
such as cleaning, use of personal and cosmetic products, waste incineration, building maintenance and movement of people and vehicles have also contributed to particles concentration increase. Dominance of the species Aspergillus versicolor and Penicillium sp. showed potential means of fungal proliferation. Considering that the functionality and operation are similar in many Antarctic buildings, some general recommendations were outlined.

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