Exposure assessment of particulate matter for susceptible populations in Seattle

Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Jun;111(7):909-18. doi: 10.1289/ehp.6011.


In this article we present results from a 2-year comprehensive exposure assessment study that examined the particulate matter (PM) exposures and health effects in 108 individuals with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary heart disease (CHD), and asthma. The average personal exposures to PM with aerodynamic diameters < 2.5 microm (PM2.5) were similar to the average outdoor PM2.5 concentrations but significantly higher than the average indoor concentrations. Personal PM2.5 exposures in our study groups were lower than those reported in other panel studies of susceptible populations. Indoor and outdoor PM2.5, PM10 (PM with aerodynamic diameters < 10 microm), and the ratio of PM2.5 to PM10 were significantly higher during the heating season. The increase in outdoor PM10 in winter was primarily due to an increase in the PM2.5 fraction. A similar seasonal variation was found for personal PM2.5. The high-risk subjects in our study engaged in an equal amount of dust-generating activities compared with the healthy elderly subjects. The children in the study experienced the highest indoor PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations. Personal PM2.5 exposures varied by study group, with elderly healthy and CHD subjects having the lowest exposures and asthmatic children having the highest exposures. Within study groups, the PM2.5 exposure varied depending on residence because of different particle infiltration efficiencies. Although we found a wide range of longitudinal correlations between central-site and personal PM2.5 measurements, the longitudinal r is closely related to the particle infiltration efficiency. PM2.5 exposures among the COPD and CHD subjects can be predicted with relatively good power with a microenvironmental model composed of three microenvironments. The prediction power is the lowest for the asthmatic children.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollution / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Asthma*
  • Child
  • Coronary Disease*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive*
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Population
  • Washington


  • Air Pollutants