Ultrafine particles: Exposure and source apportionment in 56 Danish homes

Gabriel Bekö, Charles J. Weschler, Aneta Wierzbicka, Dorina Gabriela Karottki, Jørn Toftum, Steffen Loft, Geo Clausen

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    Particle number (PN) concentrations (10-300 nm in size) were continuously measured over a period of ∼45 h in 56 residences of nonsmokers in Copenhagen, Denmark. The highest concentrations were measured when occupants were present and awake (geometric mean, GM: 22.3 × 103 cm-3), the lowest when the homes were vacant (GM: 6.1 × 103 cm-3) or the occupants were asleep (GM: 5.1 × 103 cm-3). Diary entries regarding occupancy and particle related activities were used to identify source events and apportion the daily integrated exposure among sources. Source events clearly resulted in increased PN concentrations and decreased average particle diameter. For a given event, elevated particle concentrations persisted for several hours after the emission of fresh particles ceased. The residential daily integrated PN exposure in the 56 homes ranged between 37 × 103 and 6.0 × 106 particles per cm3·h/day (GM: 3.3 × 105 cm-3·h/day). On average, ∼90% of this exposure occurred outside of the period from midnight to 6 a.m. Source events, especially candle burning, cooking, toasting, and unknown activities, were responsible on average for ∼65% of the residential integrated exposure (51% without the unknown activities). Candle burning occurred in half of the homes where, on average, it was responsible for almost 60% of the integrated exposure. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology (Washington)
    Issue number18
    Pages (from-to)10240-10248
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Environmental engineering
    • Environmental protection
    • Housing


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