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Indoor concentrations of airborne pollutants can be several times higher than those found outdoors, often due to poor ventilation, overcrowding, and the contribution of indoor sources within a home. Americans spend most of their time indoors where exposure to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can result in diminished respiratory and cardiovascular health. This study measured the indoor air quality in 30 homes of a low-income Latino community in Boulder, Colorado during the summer of 2012. Participants were administered a survey, which included questions on their health conditions and indoor air pollution sources like cigarette smoke, heating fuel, and building materials. Twenty-four hour samples of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from the indoor air were collected in each home; ambient PM2.5 samples were collected each day as well. Concurrent air samples were collected onto 47 mm Teflo and Tissuquartz filter at each location. Teflo filters were analyzed gravimetrically to measure PM2.5 and their extracts were used to determine levels of proteins and endotoxins in the fine fraction. The Tissuquartz filters were analyzed for elemental and organic carbon content (EC/OC). Results indicated that the indoor air contained higher concentrations of PM2.5 than the ambient air, and that the levels of OC were much higher than EC in both indoor and outdoor samples. This community showed no smoking in their homes and kept furry pets indoors at very low rates; therefore, cooking is likely the primary source of indoor PM. For responders with significant exposure to PM, it appeared to be primarily from occupational environments or childhood exposure abroad. Our findings indicate that for immigrant communities such as this, it is important to consider not only their housing conditions but also the relevant prior exposures when conducting health assessments.
Escobedo, L. E., W. M. Champion, N. Li, & L. D. Montoya (2014) Indoor air quality in Latino homes in Boulder, Colorado, Atmospheric Environment 92:69-75.