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Assessing personal exposure to PM using data from an integrated indoor-outdoor experiment in Athens-Greece

Assimakopoulos, V.D., Bekiari, T., Pateraki, S., Maggos, Th., Stamatis, P., Nicolopoulou, P., Assimakopoulos, M.N.
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.636 pp. 1303-1320
air quality, ammonium, calcium, chemical composition, chlorides, cleaning, cooking, instrumentation, magnesium, nitrates, particulates, potassium, restaurants, samplers, sodium, sulfates, urban areas
An integrated indoor-outdoor 15-day PM sampling campaign in a general area close to the centre of Athens, targeted to examine personal exposure. All microenvironments (MEs) (second and fourth floor flats, cafes, cars, restaurants, underground metro, outdoor etc.) frequented by the residents were included in the study. The instrumentation used was both stationary (low volume samplers) and portable/wearable to be able to measure continuously PM10, PM2.5, PM1 and analyze chemically PM2.5 and PM1 samples. The study showed that the residences' air quality was determined by the type and intensity of outdoor sources and their vertical distance from the street. Indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning further increased PM levels and formulated the air quality, while particulate accumulation was evident. In general, PM2.5 concentrations were higher outdoors, 11–43 μg/m3, than in the second floor flat as well as on days within different MEs, 13–33 μg/m3 and 8–35 μg/m3, respectively and finally in the fourth floor 10–18 μg/m3. PM2.5 chemical composition was typical of a Mediterranean urban area predominantly composed on average of OC/EC (33%), sulfate (13%), ammonium (9%), nitrate (5%) and crustal material (Cl−, Na+, K+, Mg2+ and Ca2+) (5%). On days when other MEs were visited crustal material increased on average to 16%. The PM levels measured with the portable instrumentation at all mEs showed that the persons were exposed to higher PM10 concentrations in the subway (avg. 218 μg/m3) due to the resuspension of crustal material, while maximum PM2.5 and PM1 were experienced in cafes where smoking was allowed (avg. 126 and 108 μg/m3, respectively). Using the car resulted to the lowest PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 exposure (58, 10 and 6 μg/m3, respectively). Total exposure to particulates depended both on the time spent in each ME and on the mixture of MEs visited in 24 h.