Residential wood stove use and indoor exposure to PM2.5 and its components in Northern New England

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Abstract

Background

Residential wood stove use has become more prevalent in high-income countries, but only limited data exist on indoor exposure to PM2.5 and its components.

Methods

From 2014 to 2016, we collected 7-day indoor air samples in 137 homes of pregnant women in Northern New England, using a micro-environmental monitor. We examined associations of wood stove use with PM2.5 mass and its components [black carbon (BC), organic and elemental carbon and their fractions, and trace elements], adjusted for sampling season, community wood stove use, and indoor activities. We examined impact of stove age, EPA-certification, and wood moisture on indoor pollutants.

Results

Median (IQR) household PM2.5 was 6.65 (5.02) µg/m3 and BC was 0.23 (0.20) µg/m3. Thirty percent of homes used a wood stove during monitoring. In homes with versus without a stove, PM2.5 was 20.6% higher [although 95% confidence intervals (−10.6, 62.6) included the null] and BC was 61.5% higher (95% CI: 11.6, 133.6). Elemental carbon (total and fractions 3 and 4), potassium, calcium, and chloride were also higher in homes with a stove. Older stoves, non-EPA-certified stoves, and wet or mixed (versus dry) wood were associated with higher pollutant concentrations, especially BC.

Conclusions

Homes with wood stoves, particularly those that were older and non-EPA-certified or burning wet wood had higher concentrations of indoor air combustion-related pollutants.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Shravanthi Seshasayee for assistance with manuscript formatting. The authors have received support from the National Institutes of Health (NIGMS P20GM104416, and NIEHS K23ES024803, P01ES022832, P42ES007373, and R01ES019853) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (RD83544201, RD83479801, and RD83587201). The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the grantee and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USEPA. Further, USEPA does not endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in the publication.

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Correspondence to Abby F. Fleisch.

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Keywords

  • Indoor air pollution
  • Wood stove use
  • PM2.5
  • Black carbon
  • Organic carbon
  • Trace elements