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Real-Time Indoor and Outdoor Measurements of Black Carbon in An Occupied House: An Examination of Sources

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Abstract: Black carbon (BC) was measured every five minutes for two years (May, 1998 to May 2000) inside and immediately outside a northern Virginia house (suburban Washington, DC) occupied by two nonsmokers. Two Aethalometers TM, which measure BC by optical transmission through a quartz fiber tape, were employed indoors and outdoors. Meteorological parameters were obtained on an hourly basis from the nearby Dulles airport. Indoor activities were recorded to identify indoor sources such as combustion activities, which occurred 9% of the time during the first year and 4% of the time during the second year. At times without indoor sources, indoor/outdoor BC ratios averaged 0.52 in the first year and 0.35 in the second year. The main outdoor source of BC was the general regional background, contributing 83-84% of the total during each of the two years. Morning rush-hour traffic contributed 8-9% of the total. An evening peak in the fall and winter, thought to include contributions from woodburning, was responsible for about 8% of the annual average BC concentration. The main indoor sources of BC were cooking and candle burning, contributing 16% and 31% of the annual average indoor concentrations in the two years. Relative humidity (RH) affected the outdoor Aethalometer TM in both years. An artifact associated with the tape advance was noted for the Aethalometer TM, but a correction factor was developed that reduced the associated error by a factor of 2.

This research was partially funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. This paper has been reviewed and approved for publication. However, the paper does not necessarily reflect the policy of the EPA. Use of brand names does not imply endorsement.
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Citation:Larosa, L., T. J. Buckley, and L. A. Wallace. Real-Time Indoor and Outdoor Measurements of Black Carbon in An Occupied House: An Examination of Sources. JOURNAL OF THE AIR & WASTE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION 52(1):41-49, (2002).
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Contact: Liz Hope - (919) 541-2785 or hope.elizabeth@epa.gov
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Division: Human Exposure & Atmospheric Sciences Division
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Branch: Human Exposure Analysis Branch
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Product Type: Journal
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Published: 01/01/2002
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