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Infiltration of fine particles in urban daycares

Singapore is a tropical country with a high density of day-care facilities whose indoor environments may be adversely affected by outdoor fine particle (PM2.5) air pollution. To reduce this problem requires effective, evidence-based exposure-reduction strategies. Little information is available on the penetration of outdoor PM2.5 into day-care environments. Our study attempted to address the following objectives: to measure indoor infiltration factor (Finf) of PM2.5 from outdoor P M2.5 and to determine the building parameters that modify the indoor PM2.5. We collected indoor/outdoor 1-min PM2.5 from 50 day-care classrooms. We noted mean Finf +/- SD of 0.65 +/- 0.22 in day-care rooms which are naturally ventilated and lower Finf +/- SD values of 0.47 +/- 0.18 for those that are air-conditioned: values which are lower than those reported in Singapore residences. The air exchange rates were higher in naturally ventilated rooms (1.47 vs 0.86 h?1). However, fine particle deposition rates were lower for naturally ventilated rooms (0.67 ± 0.43 h?1) compared with air-conditioned ones (1.03 ± 0.55 h?1) presumably due to composite rates linked to the filters within the split unit air-conditioners, higher recirculation rates, and interior surfaces in the latter. Our findings indicate that children remaining indoor in daycares where air-conditioning is used can reduce their PM2.5 exposures during outdoor pollution episodes. (author abstract)
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