Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Particle Concentrations in Inner-City Homes of Children with Asthma: The Effect of Smoking, Cooking, and Outdoor Pollution

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Particle Concentrations in Inner-City Homes of Children with Asthma: The Effect of Smoking, Cooking, and Outdoor Pollution

Article excerpt

Inner-city children have high rates of asthma. Exposures to particles, including allergens, may cause or exacerbate asthma symptoms. As part of an epidemiologic study of inner-city children with asthma, continuous (10-min average) measurements of particle concentrations were made for 2-week periods in 294 homes drawn from seven cities. Measurements were made using an optical scattering device that is most sensitive to fine particles. The concentrations recorded by these devices were corrected to agree with colocated outdoor gravimetric P[M.sub.2.5] monitors. Indoor concentrations in the homes averaged 27.7 (standard deviation = 35.9) [micro]g/[m.sup.3], compared with concurrent outdoor concentrations of 13.6 (7.5) [micro]g/[m.sup.3]. A multivariate model indicated that outdoor particles penetrated indoors with an efficiency of 0.48 and were therefore responsible for only 25% of the mean indoor concentration. The major indoor source was smoking, which elevated indoor concentrations by 37 [micro]g/[m.sup.3] in the 101 homes with smokers. Other significant sources included frying, smoky cooking events, use of incense, and apartment housing, although the increases due to these events ranged only from 3 to 6 [micro]g/[m.sup.3]. The 10-rain averaging time allowed calculation of an average diurnal variation, showing large increases in the evening due to smoking and smaller increases at meal times due to cooking. Most of the observed variance in indoor concentrations was day to day, with roughly similar contributions to the variance from visit to visit and home to home within a city and only a small contribution made by variance among cities. The small variation among cities and the similarity across cities of the observed indoor air particle distributions suggest that sources of indoor concentrations do not vary considerably from one city to the next, and thus that simple models can predict indoor air concentrations in dries having only outdoor measurements. Key words: continuous monitors, environmental tobacco smoke, gravimetric measurements, indoor air, MIE pDR, optical scattering, P[M.sub.10], P[M.sub.2.5]. Environ Health Perspect 111:1265-1272 (2003). doi:10.1289/ehp.6135 available via http://dx.doi.org/ [Online 1 April 2003]

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Particulate pollution in outdoor air has been associated with a number of adverse health effects [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) 1996, 2002]. Time-series studies have revealed that short-term increases in the concentration of particles in outdoor air are associated with increased mortality in the overall population (Schwartz 1994), and limited data have also suggested adverse effects of outdoor particles on emergency room use (Norris et al. 1999; Schwartz et al. 1993), symptoms (Yu et al. 2000), and lung function (Peters et al. 1997a, 1997b) among persons with asthma. Fine particles, those with an aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 [micro]m (P[M.sub.2.5]), may produce most of these harmful effects (Schwartz and Neas 2000), although coarse particles (those with diameters 2.5-10 [micro]) have also been implicated in some studies of childhood asthma (Lin et al. 2002; Sheppard et al. 1999). The concentrations of combined fine and coarse particles (P[M.sub.10]) in outdoor air, estimated on the basis of gravimetric measurements made at geographically dispersed monitoring sites, have been well described across the United States (U.S. EPA 2001), providing essential exposure data for research and regulatory purposes [Aerometric Information Retrieval System (AIRS)]. More recently, limited data are becoming available from outdoor P[M.sub.2.5] monitoring stations in several cities.

Fewer data have been reported on the concentration of particles in the indoor air of the home, where the average American spends an estimated 70% of the time (Klepeis et al. 1995). Indoor concentrations of particles vary substantially among homes and over time in a given home as a result of variation in sources of combustion products, such as smoking (Dockery and Spengler 1981; Spengler et al. …

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