Indoor Air Quality in Domestic Environments during Periods Close to Italian COVID-19 Lockdown

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 12;18(8):4060. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18084060.


This paper describes the in situ monitoring of indoor air quality (IAQ) in two dwellings, using low-cost IAQ sensors to provide high-density temporal and spatial data. IAQ measurements were conducted over 2-week periods in the kitchen and bedroom of each home during the winter, spring, and summer seasons, characterized by different outside parameters, that were simultaneously measured. The mean indoor PM2.5 concentrations were about 15 μg m-3 in winter, they dropped to values close to 10 μg m-3 in spring and increased to levels of about 13 μg m-3 in summer. During the winter campaign, indoor PM2.5 was found mainly associated with particle penetration inside the rooms from outdoors, because of the high outdoor PM2.5 levels in the season. Such pollution winter episodes occur frequently in the study region, due to the combined contributions of strong anthropogenic emissions and stable atmospheric conditions. The concentrations of indoor volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and CO2 increased with the number of occupants (humans and pets), as likely associated with consequent higher emissions through breathing and metabolic processes. They also varied with occupants' daily activities, like cooking and cleaning. Critic CO2 levels above the limit of 1000 ppm were observed in spring campaign, in the weeks close to the end of the COVID-19 quarantine, likely associated with the increased time that the occupants spent at home.

Keywords: CO2 concentration; COVID-19; PM2.5; VOCs; dwellings; indoor air quality; low-cost IAQ sensors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor* / analysis
  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Seasons


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter