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Indoor Air. 2018 Nov;28(6):818-827. doi: 10.1111/ina.12502. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Effectiveness of a portable air cleaner in removing aerosol particles in homes close to highways.

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Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York.
Civil, Environmental & Geodetic Engineering, College of Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.


Outdoor traffic-related airborne particles can infiltrate a building and adversely affect the indoor air quality. Limited information is available on the effectiveness of high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration of traffic-related particles. Here, we investigated the effectiveness of portable HEPA air cleaners in reducing indoor concentrations of traffic-related and other aerosols, including black carbon (BC), PM2.5 , ultraviolet absorbing particulate matter (UVPM) (a marker of tobacco smoke), and fungal spores. This intervention study consisted of a placebo-controlled cross-over design, in which a HEPA cleaner and a placebo "dummy" were placed in homes for 4-weeks each, with 48-hour air sampling conducted prior to and during the end of each treatment period. The concentrations measured for BC, PM2.5 , UVPM, and fungal spores were significantly reduced following HEPA filtration, but not following the dummy period. The indoor fraction of BC/PM2.5 was significantly reduced due to the HEPA cleaner, indicating that black carbon was particularly impacted by HEPA filtration. This study demonstrates that HEPA air purification can result in a significant reduction of traffic-related and other aerosols in diverse residential settings.


PM 2.5 ; HEPA air cleaner; black carbon; fungi; tobacco smoke; traffic-related air pollution (TRAP)

[Available on 2019-11-01]

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