Effects of air cleaners and school characteristics on classroom concentrations of particulate matter in 34 elementary schools in Korea
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Effects of air cleaners and school characteristics on classroom concentrations of particulate matter in 34 elementary schools in Korea

Filetype[PDF-964.05 KB]

  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Build Environ
    • Description:
      Exposure to particulate matter (PM) in school environments has been associated with respiratory illnesses among children. Although using air cleaners was reported to reduce PM exposure and improve residents' health in homes, their effects in classrooms are not well understood. We examined how the use of air cleaners in classrooms and school/classroom characteristics affect the levels of indoor PM. Our environmental study included 102 classrooms from 34 elementary schools located on the mainland peninsula and an island in Korea. Indoor and outdoor PM were monitored simultaneously with portable aerosol spectrometers, and indoor gravimetric PM levels were measured with low volume, size-selective samplers during the class hours. Correlations among PM measurements were computed and final multiple regression models for indoor PM were constructed with a model building procedure. Correlation between indoor and outdoor PM| (PM | 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter) was higher (r = 0.78, p | 0.01) than that of PM| (PM | 10 μm) (r = 0.49, p | 0.01). School location, classroom occupant density, and ambient PM levels significantly (p-values|0.05) affected classroom PM concentrations. The adjusted PM levels in classrooms using air cleaners were significantly (p-values|0.01) lower by approximately 35% than in classrooms not using them. However, air cleaners appeared to remove PM| more effectively than PM|, perhaps because coarse particles settle more rapidly than fine particles on surfaces, or their resuspension and generation rate by occupants exceeds the removal rate by air cleaners. Our study suggests that routine cleaning to remove surface dust along with the use of air cleaners might be required to effectively reduce occupants' exposure in classrooms.
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