Assessing the relationship between personal particulate and gaseous exposures of senior citizens living in Baltimore, MD

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2000 Jul;50(7):1184-98. doi: 10.1080/10473289.2000.10464165.


We conducted a multi-pollutant exposure study in Baltimore, MD, in which 15 non-smoking older adult subjects (> 64 years old) wore a multi-pollutant sampler for 12 days during the summer of 1998 and the winter of 1999. The sampler measured simultaneous 24-hr integrated personal exposures to PM2.5, PM10, SO4(2-), O3, NO2, SO2, and exhaust-related VOCs. Results of this study showed that longitudinal associations between ambient PM2.5 concentrations and corresponding personal exposures tended to be high in the summer (median Spearman's r = 0.74) and low in the winter (median Spearman's r = 0.25). Indoor ventilation was an important determinant of personal PM2.5 exposures and resulting personal-ambient associations. Associations between personal PM2.5 exposures and corresponding ambient concentrations were strongest for well-ventilated indoor environments and decreased with ventilation. This decrease was attributed to the increasing influence of indoor PM2.5 sources. Evidence for this was provided by SO4(2-) measurements, which can be thought of as a tracer for ambient PM2.5. For SO4(2-), personal-ambient associations were strong even in poorly ventilated indoor environments, suggesting that personal exposures to PM2.5 of ambient origin are strongly associated with corresponding ambient concentrations. The results also indicated that the contribution of indoor PM2.5 sources to personal PM2.5 exposures was lowest when individuals spent the majority of their time in well-ventilated indoor environments. Results also indicate that the potential for confounding by PM2.5 co-pollutants is limited, despite significant correlations among ambient pollutant concentrations. In contrast to ambient concentrations, PM2.5 exposures were not significantly correlated with personal exposures to PM2.5-10, PM2.5 of non-ambient origin, O3, NO2, and SO2. Since a confounder must be associated with the exposure of interest, these results provide evidence that the effects observed in the PM2.5 epidemiologic studies are unlikely to be due to confounding by the PM2.5 co-pollutants measured in this study.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Baltimore
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Gases
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Particle Size
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Urban Population
  • Ventilation


  • Gases