Indoor and outdoor measurements of particle number concentration in near-highway homes

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Abstract

Exposure to high levels of traffic-generated particles may pose risks to human health;however, limited measurement has been conducted at homes near highways. The purpose of this study was to characterize differences between indoor and outdoor particle number concentration (PNC) in homes near to and distant from a highway and to identify factors that may affect infiltration. We monitored indoor and outdoor PNC (6-3000 nm) for 1-3 weeks at 18 homes located <1500 m from Interstate-93 (I-93) in Somerville, MA (USA). Median hourly indoor and outdoor PNC pooled over all homes were 5.2 × 103 and 5.9 × 103 particles/cm3, respectively; the median ratio of indoor-to-outdoor PNC was 0.95 (5th/95th percentile: 0.42/1.75). Homes < 100 m from I-93 (n = 4) had higher indoor and outdoor PNC compared with homes > 1000 m away (n = 3). In regression models, a 10% increase in outdoor PNC was associated with an approximately equal (10.8%) increase in indoor PNC. Wind speed and direction, temperature, time of day and weekday were also associated with indoor PNC. Average mean indoor PNC was lower for homes with air conditioners compared with homes without air conditioning. These results may have significance for estimating indoor, personal exposures to traffic-related air pollution.

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