Particle characterization in retail environments: concentrations, sources, and removal mechanisms

Authors

  • M. Zaatari,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
    • M. Zaatari

      Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering

      University of Texas at Austin: 1 University Station C1752

      Austin

      TX 78712-1076

      USA

      Fax: (512) 471-0592

      e-mail: marwa.zaatari@gmail.com

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  • J. Siegel

    1. Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
    2. Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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Abstract

Particles in retail environments can have consequences for the occupational exposures of retail workers and customers, as well as the energy costs associated with ventilation and filtration. Little is known about particle characteristics in retail environments. We measured indoor and outdoor mass concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5, number concentrations of submicron particles (0.02–1 μm), size-resolved 0.3–10 μm particles, as well as ventilation rates in 14 retail stores during 24 site visits in Pennsylvania and Texas. Overall, the results were generally suggestive of relatively clean environments when compared to investigations of other building types and ambient/occupational regulatory limits. PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations (mean ± s.d.) were 20 ± 14 and 11 ± 10 μg/m3, respectively, with indoor-to-outdoor ratios of 1.0 ± 0.7 and 0.88 ± 1.0. Mean submicron particle concentrations were 7220 ± 7500 particles/cm3 with an indoor-to-outdoor ratio of 1.18 ± 1.30. The median contribution to PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations from indoor sources (vs. outdoors) was 83% and 53%, respectively. There were no significant correlations between measured ventilation rates and particle concentrations of any size. When examining options to lower PM2.5 concentrations below regulatory limits, the required changes to ventilation and filtration efficiency were site specific and depended on the indoor and outdoor concentration, emission rate, and infiltration level.

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