Special Issue "Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Gianluigi de Gennaro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: atmospheric chemistry and modeling; aerosol science; Indoor Air Quality (IAQ); Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Particulate Matter (PM); breath analysis; monitoring strategies; odors monitoring; emissions from materials; sensors network; PM chemical characterization; sustainability; environmental health
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jolanda Palmisani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: atmospheric pollution; Indoor Air Quality (IAQ); Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs); Particulate Matter (PM); breath analysis; monitoring strategies; odors monitoring; emissions from materials and consumer products; primary and secondary pollutants; test emission chambers; sensors network; PM chemical characterization
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Alessia Di Gilio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Bari Aldo Moro, via Orabona 4, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: atmospheric chemistry and modeling; Indoor Air Quality (IAQ); Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs); Particulate Matter (PM); breath analysis; monitoring strategies; odors monitoring; emissions from materials; sensors network; PM chemical characterization
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

In recent decades, increasing urbanization along with industrial development have remarkably contributed to particulate matter (PM) and gaseous pollutant concentration into the atmosphere. Epidemiological studies show a high correlation between inhalation exposure to atmospheric pollutants and increased incidence of respiratory diseases and cancer. In fact, it has been estimated that more than 8.0 million people worldwide are dying every year as a result of atmospheric pollution exposure. Overall exposure may be exacerbated in complex industrial and urban settlements where different anthropogenic sources coexist and synergistically affect air quality (power plants, industries, vehicle exhausts, combustion processes). Conventional methodological approaches for air quality monitoring and control are based on the measurement and characterization of the main pollutants emitted by ducted emission sources and at fixed sites, as prescribed by EU legislation. These approaches, however, do not allow accurately discriminating among different emissive contributions to identify both short-term emission sources and fugitive emissions, to monitor in real time the impact of pollutants on the surrounding area, and to intervene in case of critical events through processing control and abatement strategies. Therefore, in addition to conventional approaches, the development of innovative methodological approaches providing high temporal and spatial resolution data should be promoted in order to improve air quality monitoring and to preserve public health. Inhalation exposure to pollutants of concern may occur both outdoors and indoors. In the last few decades, indeed, the use of synthetic materials in building and furnishing, the adoption of new lifestyles, the progressive isolation of buildings, and the extensive use of products for cleaning and personal hygiene have contributed to the deterioration of indoor air quality (IAQ) and introduced new sources of risk to humans. It is therefore a priority to evaluate both indoor and outdoor air quality in order to identify critical issues and risk factors for human health. 

In recent decades, increasing urbanization along with industrial development have remarkably contributed to particulate matter (PM) and gaseous pollutant concentration into the atmosphere. Epidemiological studies show a high correlation between inhalation exposure to atmospheric pollutants and increased incidence of respiratory diseases and cancer. In fact, it has been estimated that more than 8.0 million people worldwide are dying every year as a result of atmospheric pollution exposure. Overall exposure may be exacerbated in complex industrial and urban settlements where different anthropogenic sources coexist and synergistically affect air quality (power plants, industries, vehicle exhausts, combustion processes). Conventional methodological approaches for air quality monitoring and control are based on the measurement and characterization of the main pollutants emitted by ducted emission sources and at fixed sites, as prescribed by EU legislation. These approaches, however, do not allow accurately discriminating among different emissive contributions to identify both short-term emission sources and fugitive emissions, to monitor in real time the impact of pollutants on the surrounding area, and to intervene in case of critical events through processing control and abatement strategies. Therefore, in addition to conventional approaches, the development of innovative methodological approaches providing high temporal and spatial resolution data should be promoted in order to improve air quality monitoring and to preserve public health. Inhalation exposure to pollutants of concern may occur both outdoors and indoors. In the last few decades, indeed, the use of synthetic materials in building and furnishing, the adoption of new lifestyles, the progressive isolation of buildings, and the extensive use of products for cleaning and personal hygiene have contributed to the deterioration of indoor air quality (IAQ) and introduced new sources of risk to humans. It is therefore a priority to evaluate both indoor and outdoor air quality in order to identify critical issues and risk factors for human health. 

Prof. Gianluigi de Gennaro
Dr. Jolanda Palmisani
Dr. Alessia Di Gilio
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • VOCs
  • particulate matter
  • metals
  • odors
  • atmospheric pollution
  • indoor air quality
  • high resolution monitoring
  • remediation strategies
  • exposure assessment
  • environmental risk

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Transdisciplinary Research on Indoor Environment and Health as a Social Process
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4379; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084379 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 181
Abstract
Although issues concerning indoor environments and their interaction with humans span many disciplines, such as aerosol technology, environmental psychology, health, and building physics, they are often studied separately. This study describes a research project with the transdisciplinary aim of bridging such disciplinary boundaries. [...] Read more.
Although issues concerning indoor environments and their interaction with humans span many disciplines, such as aerosol technology, environmental psychology, health, and building physics, they are often studied separately. This study describes a research project with the transdisciplinary aim of bridging such disciplinary boundaries. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the twelve project members to explore their understanding of transdisciplinarity regarding the conceptual as well as social aspects of collective learning and leadership and the measures taken to achieve this. The interviews were coded in NVivo (QSR International, Doncaster, Australia), which was used to identify themes concerning notions associated with transdisciplinarity, collective leadership, collective intelligence, and learning. A shared understanding of transdisciplinarity meant that the researchers transcended their disciplinary boundaries by moving into each other’s fields. This collective learning process was facilitated by introductory lectures on each other’s fields, contributing to collective leadership and a safe atmosphere. We argue that a transdisciplinary approach is appropriate in order to address indoor environment issues as well other complex problems, for which additional time and resources should be allocated for individual and collective learning processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Vehicle Load on Emissions of Heavy-Duty Diesel Trucks: A Study Based on Real-World Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 3877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083877 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 338
Abstract
Vehicle loads have significant impacts on the emissions of heavy-duty trucks, even in the same traffic conditions. Few studies exist covering the differences in emissions of diesel semi-trailer towing trucks (DSTTTs) with different loads, although these vehicles have a wide load range. In [...] Read more.
Vehicle loads have significant impacts on the emissions of heavy-duty trucks, even in the same traffic conditions. Few studies exist covering the differences in emissions of diesel semi-trailer towing trucks (DSTTTs) with different loads, although these vehicles have a wide load range. In this context, the operating modes and emission rates of DSTTTs were analyzed under varying loads scenarios to understand the effect of vehicle loads on emission factors. First, second-by-second field speed data and emission data of DSTTTs with different loads were collected. Then, the methods for calculating the scaled tractive power (STP) and the emissions model for DSTTTs were proposed to evaluate the effect of different loading scenarios. The STP distributions, emission rate distributions, and emission factor characteristics of different loaded trucks were analyzed and compared. The results indicated that the STP distributions of DSTTTs that under the unloaded state were more narrow than those under fully loaded or overloaded conditions. The emission rates of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and total hydrocarbon (THC) for DSTTTs under a fully loaded state were significantly higher than those under an unloaded state. However, due to the influence of exhaust temperature, the emission rates of nitrogen oxides (NOx) among fully loaded trucks were lower than those under the unloaded state when STP bin was above 4 kW/ton. The emission factors of CO2, CO, THC, and NOx for fully loaded trucks demonstrated the largest increases at low-speed intervals (0–30 km/h), which rose by 96.2%, 47.9%, 27.8%, and 65.2%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Study on Characteristics of Particulate Matter Resuspension in School Classroom through Experiments Using a Simulation Chamber: Influence of Humidity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 2856; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18062856 - 11 Mar 2021
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Resuspension of particulate matter (PM) in classrooms, which increases the risk of negative impact on student health from exposure to PM, is influenced by humidity level in the indoor environment. The goal of this study is to investigate the properties of PM resuspension [...] Read more.
Resuspension of particulate matter (PM) in classrooms, which increases the risk of negative impact on student health from exposure to PM, is influenced by humidity level in the indoor environment. The goal of this study is to investigate the properties of PM resuspension in accordance with relative humidity through classroom test chamber experiments. In actual classrooms, it is challenging to control factors influencing resuspension. Therefore, the classroom chamber that reflects the environment of elementary school classroom (e.g., structure, floor material) is used in this study. The humidity of the classroom chamber is adjusted to 35%, 55%, 75%, and 85% by placing it inside a real-size environmental chamber, which allows artificial control of climatic conditions. At the respective humidity conditions, PM resuspension concentration and resuspension factor caused by occupant walking across the classroom chamber are analyzed. The results show that both of the resuspension concentration and resuspension factor reveal a linear negative correlation to humidity increase. Furthermore, coefficient of determination (R2) indicating goodness-of-fit of the linear regression model between the resuspension concentration and humidity is 0.88 for PM10 and 0.93 for PM2.5. It implies that accuracy of the regression model for estimating PM10 and PM2.5 resuspension concentrations is 88% and 93%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
PM2.5 and Trace Elements in Underground Shopping Districts in the Seoul Metropolitan Area, Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010297 - 03 Jan 2021
Viewed by 656
Abstract
We measured PM2.5 in 41 underground shopping districts (USDs) in the Seoul metropolitan area from June to November 2017, and associated 18 trace elements to determine the sources and assess the respiratory risks. The PM2.5 concentrations were 18.0 ± 8.0 μg/m [...] Read more.
We measured PM2.5 in 41 underground shopping districts (USDs) in the Seoul metropolitan area from June to November 2017, and associated 18 trace elements to determine the sources and assess the respiratory risks. The PM2.5 concentrations were 18.0 ± 8.0 μg/m3 inside USDs, which were lower than 25.2 ± 10.6 μg/m3 outside. We identified five sources such as indoor miscellanea, soil dust, vehicle exhaust/cooking, coal combustion, and road/subway dust, using factor analysis. Almost 67% of the total trace element concentration resulted from soil dust. Soil dust contribution increased with the number of stores because of fugitive dust emissions due to an increase in passers-by. Vehicle exhaust/cooking contribution was higher when the entrances of the USDs were closed, whereas coal combustion contribution was higher when the entrances of the USDs were open. Although miscellanea and coal combustion contributions were 3.4% and 0.7%, respectively, among five elements with cancer risk, Cr and Ni were included in miscellanea, and Pb, Cd, and As were included in coal combustion. The excess cancer risk (ECR) was the highest at 67 × 10−6 for Cr, and the ECR for Pb was lower than 10−6, a goal of the United States Environmental Protection Agency for hazardous air pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Indoor Air Quality Levels in Schools: Role of Student Activities and No Activities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186695 - 14 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 694
Abstract
This work describes a methodology for the definition of indoor air quality monitoring plans in schools and above all to improve the knowledge and evaluation of the indoor concentration levels of some chemical pollutants. The aim is to guide interventions to improve the [...] Read more.
This work describes a methodology for the definition of indoor air quality monitoring plans in schools and above all to improve the knowledge and evaluation of the indoor concentration levels of some chemical pollutants. The aim is to guide interventions to improve the health of students and exposed staff connected with the activities carried out there. The proposed methodology is based on the simultaneous study of chemical (indoor/outdoor PM2.5, NO2, CO2) and physical (temperature, humidity) parameters by means of automatic analyzers coupled with gaseous compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, formaldehyde and NO2) sampled by denuders. The important novelty is that all the data were collected daily in two different situations, i.e., during school activities and no-school activities, allowing us to evaluate the exposure of each student or person. The different behaviors of all the measured pollutants during the two different situations are reported and commented on. Finally, a statistical approach will show how the investigated compounds are distributed around the two components of combustion processes and photochemical reactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Surface Treatment by O3 and Chemical Activation by Alkali Metal on the Performance of ACFs on Adsorption and Desorption of BTX Gases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5422; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155422 - 28 Jul 2020
Viewed by 482
Abstract
In order to investigate the adsorption characteristics of activated carbon fibers (ACFs) with improved surface morphologies towards volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a commercial low-grade ACF was surface modified by successive surface treatment (ST) and chemical activation (CA) process. O3 was used as [...] Read more.
In order to investigate the adsorption characteristics of activated carbon fibers (ACFs) with improved surface morphologies towards volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a commercial low-grade ACF was surface modified by successive surface treatment (ST) and chemical activation (CA) process. O3 was used as an ST agent for the formation of oxygen-containing functional groups on the carbon matrix of ACFs. CA was carried out after ST, using a KOH solution. After the successive ST-CA process, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area and average pore diameter of ACFs were increased from 1483 m2/g to 2743 m2/g and enlarged from 1.931 nm to 2.512 nm, respectively. The successive ST-CA process also resulted in the adsorption capacities of benzene, toluene, and xylene of the ACFs to increase from 0.22 g−Ben./g−ACFs, 0.18 g−Tol./g−ACFs, and 0.19 g−Xyl/g−ACFs up to 0.37 g−Ben./g−ACFs, 0.35 g−Tol./g−ACFs, and 0.38 g−Xyl/g−ACFs, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Spectroscopic Assessment of Platinum Group Elements of PM10 Particles Sampled in Three Different Areas in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3339; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093339 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
Platinum group elements (PGE) including Ru, Rh, Pt and Pd have been quantified in air particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter equal or less than 10 microns (PM10) using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). PM10 aerosols have been collected [...] Read more.
Platinum group elements (PGE) including Ru, Rh, Pt and Pd have been quantified in air particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter equal or less than 10 microns (PM10) using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). PM10 aerosols have been collected from three sites representing various activities in Jeddah city, Saudi Arabia. These locations are residential site with heavy traffic, industrial site and heavy traffic and a light traffic site outside the city. To obtain reasonable data of the PGE concentrations, a group from 10 to 15 PM10 samples were collected every month. The annual and seasonal variation of the mass concentration of the PGE were demonstrated. In all locations, Pt and Pd were relatively higher than Ru and Rh possibly because their main use is in automobile catalytic converters. Concentrations of observed PGE in PM10 could be arranged in ascending order as: Rh < Ru < Pd < Pt. In case of Ru and Pt, there are clear similarities in terms of the overall mean concentrations at the sampling locations. Due to the high concentration of Ru, Rh and Pd at low traffic site, there are certainly other sources of these elements rather than vehicle catalytic converters. However, at the industrial/heavy traffic location, high concentrations of Ru were detected during February 2015. In addition, high Pt concentrations were also detected at the light traffic site during May 2015. Results indicate that Pt source in PM10 is mainly the automobile catalytic converters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality)
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