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Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Jul 1;43(13):4641-6.

The effects of human activities on exposure to particulate matter and bioaerosols in residential homes.

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Stanford University, Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept., Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Indoor and outdoor airborne particle mass, protein, endotoxin and (1 --> 3)-beta-D-glucan in three size fractions (PM2.5, PM10, and TSP) were measured in ten single-family homes, along with quantifying household activities in the sampling room. Correlations between human activity levels and elevations in the indoor concentrations of particles and biomarkers were evaluated using four approaches for distinguishing activity levels: diurnal differences, the number of occupants, self-estimated occupancy, and activity strength. The concentrations of particles, protein, endotoxin and (1 --> 3)-beta-D-glucan in all three size fractions (PM < 2.5 microm, PM10-2.5, and PM >10 microm) were found, in most cases, to be significantly elevated during the day, and with higher activity levels in the room. The coarser fractions of particle mass and bioaerosols were more strongly correlated with human activity levels. Activity strength was the most statistically robust measure for relating human activities to indoor bioaerosol levels. While self-estimated activity and analysis of diurnal differences both offer reasonable (but not perfect) alternatives to activity strength, the number of occupants appears to be a weaker indicator for homes.

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