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Elevated personal exposure to particulate matter from human activities in a residence


Continuous laser particle counters collocated with time-integrated filter samplers were used to measure personal, indoor, and outdoor particulate matter (PM) concentrations for a variety of prescribed human activities during a 5-day experimental period in a home in Redwood City, CA, USA. The mean daytime personal exposures to PM2.5 and PM5 during prescribed activities were 6 and 17 times, respectively, as high as the pre-activity indoor background concentration. Activities that resulted in the highest exposures of PM2.5, PM5, and PM10 were those that disturbed dust reservoirs on furniture and textiles, such as dry dusting, folding clothes and blankets, and making a bed. The vigor of activity and type of flooring were also important factors for dust resuspension. Personal exposures to PM2.5 and PM5 were 1.4 and 1.6 times, respectively, as high as the indoor concentration as measured by a stationary monitor. The ratio of personal exposure to the indoor concentration was a function of both particle size and the distance of the human activity from the stationary indoor monitor. The results demonstrate that a wide variety of indoor human resuspension activities increase human exposure to PM and contribute to the “personal cloud” effect.

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This work was supported in part by funding from the Center for Indoor Air Research and the Stanford University Shah Family Fellowship. The authors are grateful for the assistance of Wayne Ott and Victor W.C. Chang.

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Correspondence to Andrea R Ferro.

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Ferro, A., Kopperud, R. & Hildemann, L. Elevated personal exposure to particulate matter from human activities in a residence. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 14 (Suppl 1), S34–S40 (2004).

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  • resuspension
  • house dust
  • human activity
  • human exposure
  • indoor air
  • indoor aerosol

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