BACKGROUND: Americans spend most of their time indoors. Indoor particulate matter (PM) 2.5 µm and smaller (PM2.5) concentrations often exceed ambient concentrations. Therefore, we tested whether the use of an air purifying device (electrostatic precipitator, ESP) could reduce PM2.5 in homes of smokers with and without respiratory exacerbations, compared with baseline.
METHODS: We assessed PM2.5 concentrations in homes of subjects with and without a recent ($łeq$3 years) history of respiratory exacerbation. We compared PM2.5 concentrations during 1 month of ESP use with those during 1 month without ESP use.
RESULTS: Our study included 19 subjects (53-80 years old), nine with a history of respiratory exacerbation. Geometric mean (GM) PM2.5 and median GM daily peak PM2.5 were significantly lower during ESP deployment compared with the equivalent time-period without the ESP (GSD = 0.50 and 0.37 µg/m3, respectively, p < 0.001). PM2.5 in homes of respiratory exacerbators tended (p < 0.14) to be higher than PM2.5 in homes of those without a history of respiratory exacerbation.
CONCLUSIONS: Subjects with a history of respiratory exacerbation tended to have higher mean, median, and mean peak PM2.5 concentrations compared with homes of subjects without a history of exacerbations. The ESP intervention reduced in-home PM2.5 concentrations, demonstrating its utility in reducing indoor exposures.
NOVELTY OF STUDY: Our work characterizes PM air pollution concentrations in homes of study subjects with and without respiratory exacerbations. We demonstrate that PM concentrations tend to be higher in homes of participants with respiratory exacerbations, and that the use of an inexpensive air purifier resulted in significantly lower daily average PM concentrations than when the purifier was not present. Our results provide a helpful intervention strategy for purifying indoor air and may be useful for susceptible populations.