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J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2009 Sep;19(6):570-9. doi: 10.1038/jes.2008.45. Epub 2008 Aug 20.

Modeling residential fine particulate matter infiltration for exposure assessment.

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Department of Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada.


Individuals spend the majority of their time indoors; therefore, estimating infiltration of outdoor-generated fine particulate matter (PM(2.5)) can help reduce exposure misclassification in epidemiological studies. As indoor measurements in individual homes are not feasible in large epidemiological studies, we evaluated the potential of using readily available data to predict infiltration of ambient PM(2.5) into residences. Indoor and outdoor light scattering measurements were collected for 84 homes in Seattle, Washington, USA, and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, to estimate residential infiltration efficiencies. Meteorological variables and spatial property assessment data (SPAD), containing detailed housing characteristics for individual residences, were compiled for both study areas using a geographic information system. Multiple linear regression was used to construct models of infiltration based on these data. Heating (October to February) and non-heating (March to September) season accounted for 36% of the yearly variation in detached residential infiltration. Two SPAD housing characteristic variables, low building value, and heating with forced air, predicted 37% of the variation found between detached residential infiltration during the heating season. The final model, incorporating temperature and the two SPAD housing characteristic variables, with a seasonal interaction term, explained 54% of detached residential infiltration. Residences with low building values had higher infiltration efficiencies than other residences, which could lead to greater exposure gradients between low and high socioeconomic status individuals than previously identified using only ambient PM(2.5) concentrations. This modeling approach holds promise for incorporating infiltration efficiencies into large epidemiology studies, thereby reducing exposure misclassification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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