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Open AccessArticle

Impact of Outdoor Air Pollution on Indoor Air Quality in Low-Income Homes during Wildfire Seasons

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
2
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Colorado, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO 80045, USA
3
Department of Geography and Division of Epidemiology, The Ohio State University, 1036 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3535; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193535
Received: 4 August 2019 / Revised: 17 September 2019 / Accepted: 18 September 2019 / Published: 21 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Monitoring and Assessment)
Indoor and outdoor number concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), black carbon (BC), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were monitored continuously for two to seven days in 28 low-income homes in Denver, Colorado, during the 2016 and 2017 wildfire seasons. In the absence of indoor sources, all outdoor pollutant concentrations were higher than indoors except for CO. Results showed that long-range wildfire plumes elevated median indoor PM2.5 concentrations by up to 4.6 times higher than outdoors. BC, CO, and NO2 mass concentrations were higher indoors in homes closer to roadways compared to those further away. Four of the homes with mechanical ventilation systems had 18% higher indoor/outdoor (I/O) ratios of PM2.5 and 4% higher I/O ratios of BC compared to other homes. Homes with exhaust stove hoods had PM2.5 I/O ratios 49% less than the homes with recirculating hoods and 55% less than the homes with no stove hoods installed. Homes with windows open for more than 12 hours a day during sampling had indoor BC 2.4 times higher than homes with windows closed. This study provides evidence that long-range wildfire plumes, road proximity, and occupant behavior have a combined effect on indoor air quality in low-income homes. View Full-Text
Keywords: low-cost sensors; black carbon; PM2.5; infiltration; energy efficiency; traffic-related air pollution; wildfire smoke low-cost sensors; black carbon; PM2.5; infiltration; energy efficiency; traffic-related air pollution; wildfire smoke
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Shrestha, P.M.; Humphrey, J.L.; Carlton, E.J.; Adgate, J.L.; Barton, K.E.; Root, E.D.; Miller, S.L. Impact of Outdoor Air Pollution on Indoor Air Quality in Low-Income Homes during Wildfire Seasons. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3535.

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