Ultrafine particles in indoor air of a school : possible role of secondary organic aerosols

Morawska, Lidia, He, Congrong, Johnson, Graham R., Gou, Hai, Uhde, Erik, & Ayoko, Godwin A. (2009) Ultrafine particles in indoor air of a school : possible role of secondary organic aerosols. Environmental Science and Technology, 43(24), pp. 9103-9109.

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The aim of this work was to investigate ultrafine particles (< 0.1 μm) in primary school classrooms, in relation to the classrooms activities. The investigations were conducted in three classrooms during two measuring campaigns, which together encompassed a period of 60 days. Initial investigations showed that under the normal operating conditions of the school there were many occasions in all three classrooms where indoor particle concentrations increased significantly compared to outdoor levels. By far the highest increases in the classroom resulted from art activities (painting, gluing and drawing), at times reaching over 1.4 x 105 particle cm-3. The indoor particle concentrations exceeded outdoor concentrations by approximately one order of magnitude, with a count median diameter ranging from 20-50 nm. Significant increases also occurred during cleaning activities, when detergents were used. GC-MS analysis conducted on 4 samples randomly selected from about 30 different paints and glues, as well as the detergent used in the school, showed that d-limonene was one of the main organic compounds of the detergent, however, it was not detected in the samples of the paints and the glue. Controlled experiments showed that this monoterpene, emitted from the detergent, reacted with O3 (at outdoor ambient concentrations ranging from 0.06-0.08ppm) and formed secondary organic aerosols. Further investigations to identify other liquids which may be potential sources of the precursors of secondary organic aerosols, were outside the scope of this project, however, it is expected that the problem identified by this study could be more widely spread, since most primary schools use liquid materials for art classes, and all schools use detergents for cleaning. Further studies are therefore recommended to better understand this phenomenon and also to minimize school children exposure to ultrafine particles from these indoor sources.

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51 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 29264
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: This article is freely available from the American Chemical Society website 12 months after the publication date. See links to publisher website in this record.
Keywords: Indoor Ultrafine Particles, Indoor Air Quality in Schools, Indoor Particle Number Concentration, Secondary Organic Aerosol, Indoor Particle Sources
DOI: 10.1021/es902471a
ISSN: 1520-5851
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Sciences not elsewhere classified (040199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > CHEMICAL SCIENCE (030000) > OTHER CHEMICAL SCIENCES (039900) > Environmental Chemistry (incl. Atmospheric Chemistry) (039901)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Aerosols (040101)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Past > Schools > School of Physical & Chemical Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 American Chemical Society
Deposited On: 14 Dec 2009 00:06
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:07

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