Concentrations of PM2.5 mass and components in residential and non-residential indoor microenvironments: The Sources and Composition of Particulate Exposures study

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Abstract

Although short in duration, air pollutant exposures occurring in non-residential microenvironments (MEs), including restaurants, vehicles and commercial locations, can represent a large fraction of total personal exposures. For the Sources and Composition of Particulate Exposures study, a novel compact sampling system was developed, facilitating simultaneous measurement of highly speciated PM2.5 mass in a range of commercial and residential locations. This sampler also included 1-min measurements of PM2.5 mass and ultrafine particle (UFP) counts. Sampling was conducted in a number of MEs (retail stores, restaurants and vehicles) throughout Atlanta. Chemically resolved particulate measurements in these locations are of interest for both exposure scientists and epidemiologists but have typically not been conducted because of logistical constraints associated with sampling these trace constituents. We present measurements from a non-random sample of locations that are limited in their generalizability but provide several promising hypothesis-generating results. PM2.5 mass concentrations greater than 100 mg/m3, and UFPs4105 particles/cm3 were measured during several events in the restaurant and vehicle. Somewhat unexpectedly, the grocery store ME, along with the restaurant and vehicle, also had the highest levels of elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon (OC) and most elements. In-vehicle concentrations of soil-related elements (Al, Ca, Fe, K and Ti) and auto-related elements (EC, OC, Zn and Cu) were higher than those measured at a central ambient site. The lowest concentrations for most pollutants were found in the hospital and retail locations. It is questionable whether periodic, high PM concentrations in the grocery store and restaurant pose health risks for customers; however, individuals working in these locations may be exposed to levels of concern.

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