In recent years, nanoparticles (NPs) have received much attention due to their very small size, high penetration capacity, and high toxicity. In urban environments, combustion-formed nanoparticles (CFNPs) dominate in particle number concentrations (PNCs), and exposure to those particles constitutes a risk to human health. Even though fine particles (<2.5 µm) are regularly monitored, information on NP concentrations, both indoors and outdoors, is still limited. In the NanoOffice study, concentrations of nanoparticles (10–300 nm) were measured both indoors and outdoors with a 5-min time resolution at twelve office buildings in Umeå. Measurements were taken during a one-week period in the heating season and a one-week period in the non-heating season. The measuring equipment SMPS 3938 was used for indoor measurements, and DISCmini was used for outdoor measurements. The NP concentrations were highest in offices close to a bus terminal and lowest in offices near a park. In addition, a temporal effect appeared, usually with higher concentrations of nanoparticles found during daytime in the urban background area, whereas considerably lower nanoparticle concentrations were often present during nighttime. Infiltration of nanoparticles from the outdoor air into the indoor air was also common. However, the indoor/outdoor ratios (I/O ratios) of NPs showed large variations between buildings, seasons, and time periods, with I/O ratios in the range of 0.06 to 0.59. The reasons for high indoor infiltration rates could be NP emissions from adjacent outdoor sources. We could also see particle growth since the indoor NPs were, on average, almost twice as large as the NPs measured outdoors. Despite relatively low concentrations of NPs in the urban background air during nighttime, they could rise to very high daytime concentrations due to local sources, and those particles also infiltrated the indoor air.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited