BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) — Lactic acid, the main chemical in human sweat, evaporates from the skin and sticks to walls at “surprisingly high rates,” according to a team of University of Colorado Boulder researchers.

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Researchers installed state-of-the-art air-sampling instruments in the University of Colorado Art Museum to study where chemicals in the air come from, how they behave and where they end up. The looked at the products used to clean and paint the room, emissions from visitors’ deodorants and skin — and even the alcohol on people’s breath.

“We found that 97 percent of the lactic acid emitted in the museum ended up on a surface,” Demetrios Pagonis, lead author on the study published in the latest issue of Environmental Science & Technology, was quoted as saying.

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“We discovered that the surface uptake of lactic acid—how ‘sticky’ it is indoors—is much greater than previous studies suggested,” Pagonis stated.

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The study’s results will be useful for improving indoor air models to learn more about how indoor air quality impacts human health and, in the case of the gallery, art preservation. The researchers were able to confirm art-harming pollutants in the CU Art Museum were all at safe levels.

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