Original Article | Published:

Personal exposure to ultrafine particles: Two-level statistical modeling of background exposure and time-activity patterns during three seasons

Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology volume 26, pages 1725 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

Personal exposure to air pollution is associated with time- and location-specific factors including indoor and outdoor air pollution, meteorology and time activities. Our investigation aims at the description and identification of factors determining personal exposure to particle number concentration (PNC) in everyday situations. Ten volunteers recorded their personal exposure to PNC and kept an activity diary in three different seasons besides stationary measurements of ambient air pollution and meteorology. Background exposure to PNC was modelled using the most predictive variables. In a second step, the effects of the activities were calculated adjusted for the background exposure. The average personal PNC level was highest in winter and was three times higher than the mean stationary PNC level while staying indoors and two times higher while staying outdoors. Personal indoor PNC levels were significantly increased during the use of candles, cooking and the occurrence of smell of food. High stationary outdoor PNC levels and low dew point temperatures were associated with increased personal outdoor PNC levels. Times spent in public transport were associated with lower personal PNC levels than other times spent in transportation. Personal PNC levels in everyday situations exhibited a large variability because of seasonal, microenvironment-specific and activity-specific influences.

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Acknowledgements

This research has been funded in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency through STAR (Science to Achieve Results) grant RD 832415 to the University of Rochester. It has not been subjected to the Agency’s required peer and policy review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred. The KORA research platform (KORA, Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg) and the MONICA Augsburg studies were initiated and financed by the Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Centre for Environmental Health (formerly GSF, National Research Centre for Environment and Health), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by the State of Bavaria. Data collection for the validation study of the Augsburger Umweltstudie as well as the contributions of Susanne Breitner, Veronika Deffner and Verena Maier have been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG grant number KU1359/2-1).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Statistical Consulting Unit, Department of Statistics, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany

    • Veronika Deffner
    • , Helmut Küchenhoff
    •  & Verena Maier
  2. Bavarian Environment Agency (LfU), Augsburg, Germany

    • Mike Pitz
  3. Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Epidemiology II, Neuherberg, Germany

    • Josef Cyrys
    • , Susanne Breitner
    • , Alexandra Schneider
    • , Jianwei Gu
    • , Uta Geruschkat
    •  & Annette Peters
  4. Environment Science Center, Universität Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany

    • Josef Cyrys
    •  & Jianwei Gu

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Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Veronika Deffner.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/jes.2014.73

Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology website (http://www.nature.com/jes)

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