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Intercomparison of five PM10 monitoring devices and the implications for exposure measurement in epidemiological research

Heal, M R and Beverland, I J and McCabe, M and Hepburn, W and Agius, R.M. (2000) Intercomparison of five PM10 monitoring devices and the implications for exposure measurement in epidemiological research. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 2 (5). pp. 455-461. ISSN 1464-0325

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Abstract

Five different instruments for the determination of the mass concentration of PM10 in air were compared side-by-side for up to 33 days in an undisturbed indoor environment: a tripod mounted BGI Inc. PQ100 gravimetric sampler with a US EPA certified Graseby Andersen PM10 inlet; an Airmetrics Minivol static gravimetric sampler; a Casella cyclone gravimetric personal sampler; an Institute of Occupational Medicine gravimetric PM10 personal sampler; and two TSI Inc. Dustrak real-time optical scattering personal samplers. For 24 h sampling of ambient PM10 concentrations around 10 microg m(-3), the estimated measurement uncertainty for the two gravimetric personal samplers was larger (approximately +/- 20%) compared with estimated measurement uncertainty for the PQ100/Graseby Andersen sampler (< +/- 5%). Measurement uncertainty for the Dustraks was lower (approximately +/- 15% on average) but calibration of the optical response against a reference PM10 method is essential since the Dustraks systematically over-read PM10 determined gravimetrically by a factor approximately 2.2. However, once calibrated, the Dustrak devices demonstrated excellent functionality in terms of ease of portability and real-time data acquisition. Estimated measurement uncertainty for PM10 concentrations determined with the Minivol were +/- 5%. The Minivol data correlated well with PQ100/Graseby Andersen data (r= 0.97, n = 18) but were, on average, 23% greater. The reason for the systematic discrepancy could not be traced. Intercomparison experiments such as these are essential for assessing measurement error and revealing systematic bias. Application of two Dustraks demonstrated the spatial and temporal variability of exposure to PM10 in different walking and transport microenvironments in the city of Edinburgh, UK. For example, very large exposures to PM10 were identified for the lower deck of a double-decker tour bus compared with the open upper deck of the same vehicle. The variability observed emphasises the need to determine truly personal exposure profiles of PM10 for quantifying exposure response relationships for epidemiological studies.