Factors Affecting the Concentration of Outdoor Particles Indoors (COPI): Identification of Data Needs and Existing Data

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The process of characterizing human exposure to particulate matter requires information on both particle concentrations in microenvironments and the time-specific activity budgets of individuals among these microenvironments. Because the average amount of time spent indoors by individuals in the US is estimated to be greater than 75%, accurate characterization of particle concentrations indoors is critical to exposure assessments for the US population. In addition, it is estimated that indoor particle concentrations depend strongly on outdoor concentrations. The spatial and temporal variations of indoor particle concentrations as well as the factors that affect these variations are important to health scientists. For them, knowledge of the factors that control the relationship of indoor particle concentrations to outdoor levels is particularly important. In this report, we identify and evaluate sources of data for those factors that affect the transport to and concentration of outdoor particles in the indoor environment. Concentrations of particles indoors depend upon the fraction of outdoor particles that penetrate through the building shell or are transported via the air handling (HVAC) system, the generation of particles by indoor sources, and the loss mechanisms that occur indoors, such as deposition. To address these issues, we (i) identify and assemble relevant information including the behavior of particles during air leakage, HVAC operations, and particle filtration; (ii) review and evaluate the assembled information to distinguish data that are directly relevant to specific estimates of particle transport from those that are only indirectly useful and (iii) provide a synthesis of the currently available information on building air-leakage parameters and their effect on indoor particle matter concentrations.

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