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Issue 1, 2012
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Measurement of the proximity effect for indoor air pollutant sources in two homes

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Personal exposure to air pollutants can be substantially higher in close proximity to an active source due to non-instantaneous mixing of emissions. The research presented in this paper quantifies this proximity effect for a non-buoyant source in 2 naturally ventilated homes in Northern California (CA), assessing its spatial and temporal variation and the influence of factors such as ventilation rate on its magnitude. To quantify how proximity to residential sources of indoor air pollutants affects human exposure, we performed 16 separate monitoring experiments in the living rooms of two detached single-family homes. CO (as a tracer gas) was released from a point source in the center of the room at a controlled emission rate for 5–12 h per experiment, while an array of 30–37 real-time monitors simultaneously measured CO concentrations with 15 s time resolution at radial distances ranging from 0.25–5 m under a range of ventilation conditions. Concentrations measured in close proximity (within 1 m) to the source were highly variable, with 5 min averages that typically varied by >100-fold. This variability was due to short-duration (<1 min) pollutant concentration peaks (“microplumes”) that were frequently recorded in close proximity to the source. We decomposed the random microplume component from the total concentrations by subtracting predicted concentrations that assumed uniform, instantaneous mixing within the room and found that these microplumes can be modeled using a 3-parameter lognormal distribution. Average concentrations measured within 0.25 m of the source were 6–20 times as high as the predicted well-mixed concentrations.

Graphical abstract: Measurement of the proximity effect for indoor air pollutant sources in two homes

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Jun 2011, accepted on 31 Aug 2011 and first published on 08 Nov 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10521C
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2012,14, 94-104

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    Measurement of the proximity effect for indoor air pollutant sources in two homes

    V. Acevedo-Bolton, K. Cheng, R. Jiang, W. R. Ott, N. E. Klepeis and L. M. Hildemann, J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 94
    DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10521C

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