Air pollution and inhalation exposure to particulate matter of different sizes in rural households using improved stoves in central China

Weijian Liu , Guofeng Shen , Yuanchen Chen , Huizhong Shen , Ye Huang , Tongchao Li , Yilong Wang , Xiaofang Fu , Shu Tao , Wenxin Liu , Yibo Huang-Fu , Weihao Zhang , Chunyu Xue , Guangqing Liu , Fuyong Wu , Minghung Wong


Received March 07, 2017,Revised May 28, 2017, Accepted June 15, 2017, Available online June 26, 2017

Volume 30,2018,Pages 87-95

Household air pollution is considered to be among the top environmental risks in China. To examine the performance of improved stoves for reduction of indoor particulate matter (PM) emission and exposure in rural households, individual inhalation exposure to size-resolved PM was investigated using personal portable samplers carried by residents using wood gasifier stoves or improved coal stoves in a rural county in Central China. Concentrations of PM with different sizes in stationary indoor and outdoor air were also monitored at paired sites. The stationary concentrations of size-resolved PM in indoor air were greater than those in outdoor air, especially finer particles PM0.25. The daily averaged exposure concentrations of PM0.25, PM1.0, PM2.5 and total suspended particle for all the surveyed residents were 74.4±41.1, 159.3±74.3, 176.7±78.1 and 217.9±78.1μg/m3, respectively. Even using the improved stoves, the individual exposure to indoor PM far exceeded the air quality guideline by WHO at 25μg/m3. Submicron particles PM1.0 were the dominant PM fraction for personal exposure and indoor and outdoor air. Personal exposure exhibited a closer correlation with indoor PM concentrations than that for outdoor concentrations. Both inhalation exposure and indoor air PM concentrations in the rural households with gasifier firewood stoves were evidently lower than the reported results using traditional firewood stoves. However, local governments in the studied rural areas should exercise caution when widely and hastily promoting gasifier firewood stoves in place of improved coal stoves, due to the higher PM levels in indoor and outdoor air and personal inhaled exposure.

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