The indoor environment is an important venue for exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) of ambient (outdoor) origin. In this work, paired indoor and outdoor PM2.5 species concentrations from three geographically distinct cities (Houston, TX, Los Angeles County, CA, and Elizabeth, NJ) were analyzed using positive matrix factorization (PMF) and demonstrate that the composition and source contributions of ambient PM 2.5 are substantially modified by outdoor-to-indoor transport. Our results suggest that predictions of "indoor PM2.5 of ambient origin" are improved when ambient PM2.5 is treated as a combination of four distinct particle types with differing infiltration behavior (primary combustion, secondary sulfate and organics, secondary nitrate, and mechanically generated PM) rather than as a "single internally mixed entity." Study-wide average infiltration factors (i.e., fraction of ambient PM2.5 found indoors) for Relationship of Indoor, Outdoor, and Personal Air (RIOPA) study homes were 0.51, 0.78, and 0.04 (consistent with P = 0.6, 0.9, and 0.09; k = 0.2, 0.1, and 0.6 h-1) for PM2.5 associated with primary combustion, secondary formation (excluding nitrate), and mechanical generation, respectively. Modification of the composition, properties, and source contributions of ambient PM2.5 in indoor environments has important implications for exposure mitigation strategies, development of health hypotheses, and evaluation of exposure error in epidemiological studies that use ambient central-site PM2.5 as a surrogate for PM2.5 exposure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry