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Correction Factor for Continuous Monitoring of Wood Smoke Fine Particulate Matter

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Volume: 11 | Issue: 3 | Pages: 315-322
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2010.08.0072
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Marcy L. McNamara, Curtis W. Noonan, Tony J. Ward

  • Center for Environmental Health Sciences, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, Montana, 59812, U.S.A.

Abstract

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated a handful of instruments as Federal Reference or Federal Equivalency Methods (FRM and FEM, respectively) for the monitoring of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). More commonly used for indoor exposure assessment studies are optical scanning devices such as the DustTrak (TSI) due to their portability and affordability. It is recommended by the manufacturer of these instruments that a “correction factor” be applied when assessing source-specific conditions. In this study, DustTraks were collocated with multiple samplers in various environments in an effort to establish an indoor, wood smoke-source specific correction factor. The DustTrak was found to report PM2.5 levels on average 1.6 times higher than a filter based method in two indoor sampling programs. The DustTrak also reported indoor PM2.5 concentrations 1.7 times higher than a FRM sampler during a regional forest fire event. These real-world scenarios give a correction factor within a reasonable range of the results of a controlled laboratory experiment in which DustTraks reported PM2.5 approximately 2 times higher than a FEM. Our indoor wood smoke-specific correction factor of 1.65 will allow for DustTraks to be confidently used in quantifying PM2.5 exposures within indoor environments predominantly impacted by wood smoke.

Keywords

PM2.5 Indoor air pollution Wood burning


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