Real-time monitoring of particles, PAH, and CO in an occupied townhouse

Appl Occup Environ Hyg. 2000 Jan;15(1):39-47. doi: 10.1080/104732200301836.


Beginning in October 1996, indoor and sometimes outdoor air at an occupied house in a suburban area of Virginia has been monitored continuously for particles, PAH, and CO. Two Climet monitors have been used to count particles in six size ranges between 0.3 and > 10 microns, with 1-minute averages being collected every 5 minutes. Two Ecochem PAH monitors have been used to sample for particle-bound PAHs once every minute. Also, two Langan CO monitor-data loggers have measured CO once each minute while logging the PAH data. Two Aethalometers measure black carbon. A single Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS) measures ultrafine particles. The pairs of monitors are set up either to provide an indoor/outdoor or an upstairs office/downstairs kitchen comparison. Air exchange is occasionally measured using a Bruel & Kjaer 1302 SF6 monitor, as a parameter necessary for estimating deposition rates for particles and PAH. Results from the first 16 months of monitoring (approximately 10 M observations) include: neighborhood woodburning and morning rush hour traffic are the most important sources of PAH and black carbon outdoors; candles, matches, incense, and frying, sauteeing, broiling, deep-frying, and stir-frying are additional important indoor sources of PM. One citronella candle was an extremely powerful PAH source. Neither woodburning nor vehicles appears to be an important source of particles indoors, but frying, grilling, and sauteeing are extremely strong indoor sources, together with combustion events such as use of matches and candles. Physical movement was an important source of coarse but not fine particles. Use of the gas stove for extended periods of time led to increased CO concentrations--vehicles and woodburning were relatively minor sources in comparison. The gas oven, gas burners, and electric toaster oven were important sources of ultrafine particles (< 0.1 micron). A source-proximity effect was noted with the kitchen monitor reading two to five times higher than the upstairs monitor for particles from kitchen events, while the upstairs monitor often read higher than the kitchen monitor for events caused by physical activity alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aerosols / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis*
  • Cooking*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic / analysis*
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Particle Size


  • Aerosols
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic
  • Carbon Monoxide