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Comparison of PM2.5 Exposure in Hazy and Non-Hazy Days in Nanjing, China

Category: Urban Air Quality

Volume: 17 | Issue: 9 | Pages: 2235-2246
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2016.07.0301
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Ting Zhang1,2, Steven N. Chillrud2, Junfeng Ji 1, Yang Chen1, Masha Pitiranggon2, Wenqing Li3, Zhenyang Liu1, Beizhan Yan2

  • 1 Key Laboratory of Surficial Geochemistry, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University, Qixia, Nanjing 210023, China
  • 2 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
  • 3 Nanjing Municipal Institute of Environment Protection, Gulou, Nanjing 210093, China


On non-hazy days, local and regional levels jointly decided personal exposure levels.
On hazy days, personal PM2.5 exposure was mainly affected by regional ambient levels.
Cooking emissions led to the highest PM2.5 levels on both hazy and non-hazy days.
Air handling in enclosed locations impacted personal exposures substantially.
Subway trains in Nanjing were relatively clean due to good air filtration.


Fine particulate matter (PM2.5), levels of which are about 6 times the 2014 WHO air quality guidelines for 190 cities in China, has been found to be associated with various adverse health outcomes. In this study, personal PM2.5 exposures were monitored along a fixed routine that included 19 types of non-residential micro-environments (MEs) on 4 hazy days (ambient PM2.5 292 ± 70 µg m–3) and 2 non-hazy days (55 ± 16 µg m–3) in Nanjing, China using miniaturized real-time portable particulate sensors that also collect integrated filters of PM2.5 (MicroPEMs, Research Triangle Institute (RTI), NC). Gravimetric correction is necessary for nephelometer devices in calculating real-time PM levels. During both hazy and non-hazy days, personal PM2.5 levels were generally higher in MEs with noticeable PM2.5 sources than MEs serving as receptor sites, higher in open MEs than indoor MEs, and higher in densely populated MEs than MEs with few people. Personal PM2.5 levels measured during hazy and non-hazy days were 242 ± 91 µg m–3 and 103 ± 147 µg m–3, respectively. The ratio of personal exposure to ambient PM2.5 levels (rp/a) was less than 1.0 and less variable on hazy days (0.85 ± 0.31); while it was larger than 1.0 and more variable on non-hazy days (1.71 ± 1.93), confirming the importance of local sources other than ambient during non-hazy days. Air handling methods (e.g., ventilation/filtration) impacted personal exposures in enclosed locations on both types of days. Street food vendors with cooking emissions were MEs with the highest personal PM2.5 levels while subway cars in Nanjing were relatively clean due to good air filtration on both hazy and non-hazy days. In summary, on hazy days, personal exposure was mainly affected by the regional ambient levels, while on non-hazy days, local sources together with ambient levels determined personal exposure levels.


PM2.5 Micro-environment Haze Personal exposure Subway

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