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Assessment of ultrafine particles in Portuguese preschools: levels and exposure doses

Authors

  • J. Fonseca,

    1. LEPABE, Departamento de Engenharia Química, Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
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  • K. Slezakova,

    1. LEPABE, Departamento de Engenharia Química, Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
    2. REQUIMTE, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Instituto Politécnico do Porto, Porto, Portugal
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  • S. Morais,

    1. REQUIMTE, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Instituto Politécnico do Porto, Porto, Portugal
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  • M. C. Pereira

    Corresponding author
    1. LEPABE, Departamento de Engenharia Química, Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
    • Maria Carmo Pereira

      LEPABE, Departamento de Engenharia Química Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal

      Tel.: +351 22 508 1590

      Fax: +351 22 508 1449

      e-mail: mcsp@fe.up.pt

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Abstract

The aim of this work was to assess ultrafine particles (UFP) number concentrations in different microenvironments of Portuguese preschools and to estimate the respective exposure doses of UFP for 3–5-year-old children (in comparison with adults). UFP were sampled both indoors and outdoors in two urban (US1, US2) and one rural (RS1) preschool located in north of Portugal for 31 days. Total levels of indoor UFP were significantly higher at the urban preschools (mean of 1.82 × 104 and 1.32 × 104 particles/cm3 at US1 an US2, respectively) than at the rural one (1.15 × 104 particles/cm3). Canteens were the indoor microenvironment with the highest UFP (mean of 5.17 × 104, 3.28 × 104, and 4.09 × 104 particles/cm3 at US1, US2, and RS1), whereas the lowest concentrations were observed in classrooms (9.31 × 103, 11.3 × 103, and 7.14 × 103 particles/cm3 at US1, US2, and RS1). Mean indoor/outdoor ratios (I/O) of UFP at three preschools were lower than 1 (0.54–0.93), indicating that outdoor emissions significantly contributed to UFP indoors. Significant correlations were obtained between temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, solar radiation, and ambient UFP number concentrations. The estimated exposure doses were higher in children attending urban preschools; 3–5-year-old children were exposed to 4–6 times higher UFP doses than adults with similar daily schedules.

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