5th Indoor Air Pollution Working Group Meeting, IAQ 2003 Norwich: Conference Report

Indoor Air Quality in Museums and Historic Properties

Peter Brimblecombe

School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

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The 5th meeting of the Indoor Air Pollution Working Group (IAQ2003 Norwich) was held 28-29 April 2003 in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, UK. The conference followed many of the themes found in earlier meetings, but there was a special focus on risks to objects on open display. This drew additional interest from those concerned with potential damage to items within historic properties. The conference also encouraged participants to link the findings of conservation science to management strategies.

Registration took place on a lovely Sunday afternoon, 27th April, on the university campus. A steady supply of wine ensured that participants lingered and began discussions that were to continue over the ensuing days. Those with remaining enthusiasm headed down to the city in the evening for meals and further conversation. The formal meeting was opened by Prof. Trevor Davies, Dean of the School Environmental Sciences on Monday 28th April. He stressed the breadth of interest within the environmental sciences, which meant that the School welcomes interdisciplinary meetings of characterised by that organised by the Indoor Air Pollution Working Group. The fact that there were more than a hundred registrants showed the high level of interest in the meeting. An international concern was emphasised with representation that went well beyond Europe with participants from Korea, Canada and the United States.

The morning began with a session on "Effects and Perceptions of Pollutants" which saw excellent presentations that treated the susceptibility of objects to pollutant and other environmental factors gases through to more psychological issues that examined visitor perceptions of dustiness. Before lunch there was a poster session that had attracted 16 posters indicating the importance of this format.

Early afternoon a session on "Emissions" with interesting papers that looked at mostly organic materials emitted from materials associate with show cases. In the late afternoon there were a group of papers under the heading "Measurements and Monitoring of the Indoor Environments" which dealt with diffusive samplers and coupons and the way gases exchanged with cases.

After a very long day indoors the organisers had decided not to put the participants through a lengthy conference dinner, but bussed everyone into the centre of Norwich where two boats were tied to the Elm Hill Quay. They soon disembarked and we were treated to a twilight cruise on the river, and despite the food and drink on board conversations on indoor air quality matters continued.

Day two of the conference started with a session on "Dust" covering issues from pesticides through to investigations of indoor dust and the effect of air conditioning systems. The impressive morning session ended with papers on management and standards within the indoor environment.

Before lunch there was a short presentation on the theory and application of IMPACT; a deposition-based model for predicting the levels of externally generated air pollutants inside heritage buildings. The long lunch break gave everyone time to try out IMPACT model and assess its usefulness.

After lunch there was a session on "Management and Mitigation" with a range of interesting papers and the conference concluded with Dario Camuffo, talking about the problem of heating churches without generating negative impact on artworks. This was notable because Dario had been the opening speaker at the 4th meeting of the Indoor Air Pollution Working Group, in Copenhagen 2001. However this is a dangerous precedent because Dario may well become organiser for the 6th meeting of the Indoor Air Pollution Working Group, in Padova 2004.

It was excellent to see the Indoor Air Pollution Working Group go from strength to strength and the enthusiasm to organise these important events. Everyone was grateful for the efforts of the UEA research team of Michele Raychaudhuri, Derek Bowden, Carlota Grossi and Young Hun Yoon who ensured a well organised conference.

Peter Brimblecombe

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Index of presentations at IAQ 2003 meeting

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