Comparison of particulate matter exposure estimates in young children from personal sampling equipment and a robotic sampler

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Abstract

Accurate characterization of particulate matter (PM) exposure in young children is difficult, because personal samplers are often too heavy, bulky or impractical to be used. The Pretoddler Inhalable Particulate Environmental Robotic (PIPER) sampler was developed to help address this problem. In this study, we measured inhalable PM exposures in 2-year-olds via a lightweight personal sampler worn in a small backpack and evaluated the use of a robotic sampler with an identical sampling train for estimating PM exposure in this age group. PM mass concentrations measured by the personal sampler ranged from 100 to almost 1,200 μg/m3, with a median value of 331 μg/m3. PM concentrations measured by PIPER were considerably lower, ranging from 14 to 513 μg/m3 with a median value of 56 μg/m3. Floor cleaning habits and activity patterns of the 2-year-olds varied widely by home; vigorous play and recent floor cleaning were most associated with higher personal exposure. Our findings highlight the need for additional characterization of children's activity patterns and their effect on personal exposures.

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