Hugo Destaillats

Hugo Destaillats

Chemist Senior Scientist/Engineer


Hugo Destaillats is a Senior Scientist at the Indoor Environment Group,  in the Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division. He has been a scientist at LBNL since 2003. Hugo obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), and has been a postdoctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology and UC Davis.

Research Interests
  • Environmental chemistry of the built environment and urban systems
  • Indoor air quality. Sources and chemical transformations of indoor pollutants
  • Pathways of exposure to harmful contaminants, and the associated health impacts
  • Development and assessment of air purification technologies
  • With LBNL’s Heat Island Program, working towards the development and rating of novel “cool” building envelope materials (roofs and walls) that help save energy and mitigate the urban heat island effect
  • Environmental application of catalysis, photocatalysis and other advanced remediation technologies
  • Full list of publications
  • Media coverage
  • Patents

September 2022:
Our article on indoor exposures to thirdhand tobacco smoke was featured in the cover of ES&T.

Thirdhand exposures to tobacco-specific nitrosamines through inhalation, dust ingestion, dermal uptake, and epidermal chemistry.
X. Tang, N. Benowitz, L. Gundel, B. Hang, C. M. Havel, E. Hoh, P. Jacob III, J-H Mao, M. Martins-Green, G. E. Matt, P. J. E. Quintana, M. L. Russell, A. Sarker, S. F. Schick, A. M. Snijders, H. Destaillats. 
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56, 17, 12506-12516.  

April 2021:
Presented at "Emerging Science on Indoor Chemistry" Workshop, hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. 
(video) - starting at 1:53:20

September 2019:
Presented at Symposium on the Chemistry of Indoor Environments, Washington DC. The symposium was organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

AAAS 2019 - UK Stand — Holoxica Limited

September 2019:
Presented at US Congress briefing on indoor chemistry and air quality.

August 2018:
LBNL Director's Award for exceptional achievement - Societal Impact
Awarded to the Thirdhand Smoke Research Team 
Berkeley Lab logo

April 2018:
Presented at the Research Seminar Series of the California Air Resources Board, in Sacramento CA
"Characterizing formaldehyde emissions from home central heating and air conditioning filters"

November 2016:
R&D 100 Award for the development of an accelerated aging practice to simulate effects of natural exposure on radiative properties of cool roofing materials 
Berkeley Lab Wins 2018 R&D 100 Awards for Energy Technologies

January-February 2017:
Our work on electronic cigarettes was featured in the University of California News and The Vaping Post 

September 2016:
Our article on emissions from electronic cigarettes was featured in the cover of ES&T

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.
Image result for es&t cover electronic cigarette
May 2015:
Our method for accelerated aging of cool roofing materials was accepted as ASTM Standard D7897-15. 
Image result for astm international


PhD in Chemistry, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1998
Postdoc in Environmental Engineering Science, California Institute of Technology, USA, 1998-2001
Postdoc in Environmental Toxicology, University of California Davis, USA, 2001-2003


2018 Director’s Awards for Exceptional Achievement: Societal Impact -  August 8th 2018

This multidisciplinary and cross-divisional team is honored for decade-long research accomplishments culminating in their discovery that thirdhand smoke, a new tobacco hazard, increases lung cancer risk in mice. This achievement is vital for protecting and improving public health nationwide.

2016 R&D 100 Award: Cool Roof Time Machine -  November 9th 2016

A Berkeley Lab-led team of scientists established a method to simulate soiling and weathering of roofing material, reproducing in the lab in only a few days what would naturally take three years. This “cool roof time machine” protocol has been approved by ASTM International, a widely referenced standards body, as a standard practice for the industry, and is expected to accelerate deployment of cool roofs, which have been shown to reduce a building’s energy use and mitigate the urban heat island effect.

R&D Magazine’s annual R&D 100 Awards recognize the top 100 technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research. For more information on the awards, see the links below.

Journal and Editorial Board Memberships

Indoor Air, Editorial Board member