Environmental Chemistry

of the Built Environment


Staff Scientist, and
Deputy Group Leader

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Indoor Environment Group

Ph.D.in Physical Chemistry,
University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1998

Last update: March 2017


Buildings are our habitat, and consume large amounts of energy and resources. Sustainable buildings should increase energy efficiency, while also maintaining or improving occupant's health and reducing the impact of the built infrastructure on urban pollution. Current research efforts are aimed at:

1) understanding sources, fate and transport of indoor pollutants
2) developing and characterizing air cleaning technologies
3) advancing "cool" building materials that save energy and mitigate the urban heat island effect


Our work on electronic cigarettes was featured in articles published by
the University of California News (January 2017)
the Vaping Post (February 2017)

Our Heat Island Group received a 2016 R&D Award for the development of an accelerated aging practice to simulate effects of natural exposure on solar reflectance and thermal emittance of cool roofing materials (November 2016)

LBNL press release

Our article describing emissions from electronic cigarettes was featured in the September 2016 cover of Environ. Sci. Technol.:

"Emissions from electronic cigarettes: Key parameters affecting the release of harmful chemicals"

M. Sleiman, J.M. Logue, V.N. Montesinos, M.L. Russell, M.I. Litter, L.A. Gundel, H. Destaillats.
Environ. Sci.Technol., 2016, 50, 9644-9651.

Download it here .

See media coverage here

US Patent awarded on August 30, 2016

"Use of manganese oxide and activated carbon fibers for removing a particle, volatile organic compound or ozone from a gas"

M.A. Sidheswaran, H. Destaillats, W.J. Fisk

Patent Number 9,427,728 B2

Our method for rapid rating of roofing materials was accepted as an ASTM Standard in May 2015:

D7897-15: Standard practice for laboratory soiling and weathering of roofing materials to simulate effects of natural exposure on solar reflectance and thermal emittance.

The method is described in our article published in
Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells .

Our article describing volatile constituents of thirdhand smoke was published in Environ. Sci. Technol.:

"Inhalable constituents of thirdhand tobacco smoke: Chemical characterization and health impact considerations"

M. Sleiman, J.M. Logue, W. Luo, J.F. Pankow, L.A. Gundel, H. Destaillats.
Environ. Sci.Technol., 2014, 48, 13093-13101.

Download it here .

Our article describing species present in irradiated TIO2 surfaces during NOx removal was published in J. Phys. Chem. Lett.:

"Chemistry of NOx on TiO2 surfaces studied by ambient pressure XPS: products, effect of UV irradiation, water and coadsorbed K+"

O. Rosseler, M. Sleiman, V.N. Montesinos, A. Shavorskiy, V. Keller, N. Keller, M.I. Litter, H. Bluhm, M. Salmeron, H. Destaillats.
J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2013, 4, 536-541.

Download it here .

Our article describing formation of carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines in thirdhand smoke was published in PNAS:

"Formation of carcinogens indoors by surface-mediated reactions of nicotine with nitrous acid, leading to potential thirdhand smoke hazards"

M. Sleiman, L.A. Gundel, J.F. Pankow, P. Jacob III, B.C. Singer and H. Destaillats.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2010, 107, 6576-6581.

Download it here .

See media coverage here .

Cover article in Environmental Health Perspectives
featuring our work
Environ. Health Perspect, 2011, 119, A70-A74.
Download it here .

“Thirdhand tobacco smoke: emerging evidence and arguments for a multidisciplinary research agenda”
G. E. Matt, P. J. E. Quintana, H. Destaillats, L. A. Gundel, M. Sleiman, B.C. Singer, P. Jacob III, N. Benowitz, J. Winickoff, V. Rehan, P. Talbot, S. Schick, J. Samet, Y. Wang, B. Hang, M. M. Green, J. Pankow, M. Hovell.
Environ. Health Perspectives, 2011, 119, 1218-1226.
Download it here .


“Soiling of building envelope surfaces and its effect on solar reflectance — Part II: Development of an accelerated aging method for roofing materials”
M. Sleiman, T.W. Kirchstetter, P. Berdahl, H.E. Gilbert, S. Quelen, L. Marlot, C.V. Preble, S. Chen, A. Montalbano, O. Rosseler, H. Akbari, R. Levinson and H. Destaillats.
Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells, 2014, 122, 271-281.
Download it here .

“Key parameters influencing the performance of photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) air purification under realistic indoor conditions”
H. Destaillats, M. Sleiman, D. P. Sullivan, C. Jacquiod, J. Sablayrolles, L. Molins.
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 2012, 128, 159-170.
Download it here .

“Quantitative room-temperature mineralization of airborne formaldehyde using manganese oxide catalysts”
M. Sidheswaran, H. Destaillats, D.P. Sullivan, J. Larsen and W.J. Fisk.
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 2011, 107, 34-41.
Download it here .

"Efficiency of clay-TiO2 nanocomposites on the photocatalytic elimination of a model hydrophobic air pollutant"
D. Kibanova, J. Cervini-Silva and H. Destaillats. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, 1500-1506.
Download it here .

“Effect of ozone on nicotine desorption from model surfaces: evidence for heterogeneous chemistry”
H. Destaillats, B.C. Singer, S.K. Lee and L.A. Gundel.
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2006, 40, 1799-1805.
Download it here .

“Indoor secondary pollutants from the use of household products in the presence of ozone. A bench scale study”
H. Destaillats, M.M. Lunden, B.C. Singer, B.K. Coleman, A.T. Hodgson, C.J. Weschler and W.W. Nazaroff.
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2006, 40, 4421-4428.
Download it here .

“Synergistic effects on sonolysis combined with ozonolysis for the oxidation of azobenzene and methyl orange”
H. Destaillats, A. J. Colussi, J. M. Joseph and M. R. Hoffmann,
J. Phys. Chem. A 2000, 104, 8930-8935.
Download it here .

Click here for a complete publication list.

Contact information

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
1 Cyclotron Road MS 70-108B
Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Phone:(+1-510) 486-5897
Email: HDestaillats@lbl.gov