Assessment of Bioaerosols and Particulate Matter Distribution in Residential Homes: A Pilot Study
Increasing air pollution represents a major environmental and health issue. Humans spend a considerable amount of time indoors, and indoor biological airborne pollutants may harm human health. Bioaerosols play a significant role in indoor air quality (IAQ) as they can be the cause of several health problems, including allergies and infectious diseases. Therefore, the sole measure of outdoor pollutant concentrations is not sufficient to assess total exposure to air pollution. Furthermore, the increasing interest to bioaerosol and particulate matter (PM) distribution and indoor-outdoor relationships has led to the development of various techniques. However, a simple, reliable and relatively cheap method is still lacking due to the complex interactions between the pollutants and the specific site conditions among various studies. An alternative approach is to use direct reading instruments, e.g., based on optical or fluorescent systems. This study aimed to assess air quality of three carefully selected residential houses in Cincinnati OH (USA) with a special emphasis on the use of direct reading instrument, Indoor/Outdoor (I/O) ratio of bioaerosol particles, and PM10 and PM2.5 mass concentration distribution in various rooms. The Mann-Whitney U test confirmed significant differences in the concentrations of total particles, bacteria, fungi, and pollen between the houses as well as within the same house in different rooms (p < 0.05). One-way ANOVA confirmed significant difference between the particle distribution in houses. Also, there was a significant positive correlation between the concentrations of total particles and fungi in all the houses, whereas there was also a strong positive correlation between fungi and Bacillus sp. in House #1. The highest concentrations of indoor PM10 and PM2.5 were found in bedrooms (all houses), living room and the kitchen (Houses #2 and #3) and bathrooms (House #1). Potential exposure dose was also calculated for each inhabitant in each room based on indoor exposure fraction, inhalation rates, body weight and particle concentration.
Index Terms - Bioaerosols; direct reading instruments, public health, distribution