Side‐by‐Side Comparison of Particle Count and Mass Concentration Measurements in a Residence

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Particulate matter (PM) is a contaminant of concern in many indoor environments, including residential and commercial buildings. Health guidelines for exposure to particles are in units of mass concentrations. Relative to time-integrated mass measurements collected on filters, real-time particle counters are less time-consuming to operate. Studies found reasonable correlation between these two measurement techniques, but agreement may vary in different sampling environments, and depends on the instruments used. We performed a side-by-side comparison of particle counts and mass concentrations estimated by three types of real-time instruments: MetOne BT-637 optical particle counter (OPC), TSI DustTrak aerosol monitor, and TSI aerodynamic particle sizer (APS) spectrometer. In addition to these real-time instruments, time-integrated particle mass was also collected using PM2.5 and PM10 Personal Environmental Monitors (PEMs) manufactured by SKC. Sampling was conducted for two consecutive days in an occupied single-family house in Berkeley, California. Concentration profiles had similar trends, with DustTraks reporting higher particle mass concentrations, partially explained by the density value assumed in the calibration. We made assumptions for particle size and density to calculate the PM2.5 and PM10 mass concentrations for the MetOne and APS, and compared with the filter-based measurements. Despite uncertainties and assumptions, there was generally good agreement for the different methods.

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