Indoor airborne particle sources and outdoor haze days effect in urban office areas in Guangzhou

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Abstract

To identify the sources of PM2.5 pollutants in work environments and determine whether the air quality inside an office was affected by a change in outdoor pollution status, concurrent indoor and outdoor measurements of PM2.5 were conducted at five different office spaces in the urban center of Guangzhou on low pollution days (non-episode days, NEDs), and high pollution days (haze episode days, EDs). Indoor-outdoor relationships between the PM2.5 mass and its chemical constituents, which included water-soluble ions, carbonaceous species, and metal elements, were investigated. A principle component analysis (PCA) was performed to further confirm the relationship between the indoor and outdoor PM2.5 pollution.

The results reveal that (1) Printing and ETS (Environmental tobacco smoking) were found to be important office PM2.5 sources and associated with the enrichment of SO42-, OC, EC and some toxic metals indoors; (2) On EDs, serious outdoor pollution and higher air exchange rate greatly affected all studied office environments, masking the original differences of the indoor characteristics (3) Fresh air system could efficiently filter out most of the outside pollutants on both NEDs and EDs.

Overall, the results of our study suggest that improper human behavior is associated with the day-to-day generation of indoor PM2.5 levels and sporadic outdoor pollution events can lead to poor indoor air quality in urban office environments. Moreover, fresh air system has been experimentally proved with data as an effective way to improve the air quality in office.

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