Cooking-related PM2.5 and acrolein measured in grocery stores and comparison with other retail types
We measured particulate matter (PM), acrolein, and other indoor air contaminants in eight visits to grocery stores in California. Retail stores of other types (hardware, furniture, and apparel) were also sampled on additional visits. Based on tracer gas decay data, most stores had adequate ventilation according to minimum ventilation rate standards. Grocery stores had significantly higher concentrations of acrolein, fine and ultrafine PM, compared to other retail stores, likely attributable to cooking. Indoor concentrations of PM2.5 and acrolein exceeded health guidelines in all tested grocery stores. Acrolein emission rates to indoors in grocery stores had a mean estimate about 30 times higher than in other retail store types. About 80% of the indoor PM2.5 measured in grocery stores was emitted indoors, compared to only 20% for the other retail store types. Calculations suggest a substantial increase in outdoor air ventilation rate by a factor of three from current level is needed to reduce indoor acrolein concentrations. Alternatively, acrolein emission to indoors needs to be reduced 70% by better capturing of cooking exhaust. To maintain indoor PM2.5 below the California annual ambient standard of 12 μg/m3, grocery stores need to use air filters with an efficiency rating higher than the MERV 8 air filters commonly used today.