Determinants of the associations between ambient concentrations and personal exposures to ambient PM 2.5, NO 2, and O 3 during DEARS

Qingyu Meng, Ronald Williams, Joseph P. Pinto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Personal total exposure (E t) is composed of exposure to pollutants of ambient origin (E a) and nonambient origin (E na), both of which are associated with health effects. However, E a is more relevant for estimating the health effects associated with ambient air pollutants. Associations between E a and ambient concentrations (C a) were examined for different subpopulations in the Detroit Exposure and Aerosol Research Study (DEARS). First, E a was estimated for PM 2.5, NO 2, and O 3. The associations between C a and E a were then characterized with mixed effect models. C a served as a good surrogate for E a for PM 2.5 in both summer (slope = 0.80) and winter (slope = 0.55), but only in summer for O 3 and NO 2 (slope = 0.13 for NO 2, and slope = 0.03 for O 3).The effects of exposure determinants on E a-C a associations were examined using mixed effect models. Exposure determinants examined include personal activities, building and household characteristics and ambient apparent temperature (AT). The strength of associations between C a and E a differed between that for the entire study population and different subpopulations, which in turn differed from each other. Personal activities and building characteristics significantly affected the E a-C a associations through modifying the air exchange rate (AER). C a was not a significant indicator of E a for O 3 and NO 2 for homes with central AC or with windows closed. Ambient AT affected the E a-C a associations through modifying both AER and personal activities. The fraction of daily time spent outdoors peaked (6%) at about 22 °C, and monotonically decreased when ambient AT departed from 22 °C. Adequate accounting for the effects of exposure determinants on the E a-C a associations will lead to a better understanding of the E a-C a associations and of the uncertainties associated with using ambient concentrations as surrogates for personal exposures of ambient origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science

Keywords

  • Air exchange rates
  • Exposure of ambient origin
  • NO
  • O
  • PM
  • Time activity patterns

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