Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 598–609

Indoor and outdoor sources of size-resolved mass concentration of particulate matter in a school gym—implications for exposure of exercising children

  • Martin Braniš
  • Jiří Šafránek
  • Adéla Hytychová
Research Article



It has been noticed many times that schools are buildings with high levels of particulate matter concentrations. Several authors documented that concentrations of particulate matter in indoor school microenvironments exceed limits recommended by WHO namely when school buildings are situated near major roads with high traffic densities. In addition, exercise under conditions of high particulate concentrations may increase the adverse health effects, as the total particle deposition increases in proportion to minute ventilation, and the deposition fraction nearly doubles from rest to intense exercise.

Site and methods

Mass concentrations of size-segregated aerosol were measured simultaneously in an elementary school gym and an adjacent outdoor site in the central part of Prague by two pairs of collocated aerosol monitors—a fast responding photometer DusTrak and a five stage cascade impactor. To encompass seasonal and annual differences, 89 days of measurements were performed during ten campaigns between 2005 and 2009.

Results and discussion

The average (all campaigns) outdoor concentration of PM2.5 (28.3 μg m−3) measured by the cascade impactors was higher than the indoor value (22.3 μg m−3) and the corresponding average from the nearest fixed site monitor (23.6 μg m−3). Indoor and outdoor PM2.5 concentrations exceeded the WHO recommended 24-h limit in 42% and 49% of the days measured, respectively. The correlation coefficient (r) between corresponding outdoor and indoor aerosol sizes increased with decreasing aerodynamic diameter of the collected particles (r = 0.32–0.87), suggesting a higher infiltration rate of fine and quasi-ultrafine particles. Principal component analysis revealed five factors explaining more than 82% of the data variability. The first two factors reflected a close association between outdoor and indoor fine and quasi-ultrafine particles confirming the hypothesis of high infiltration rate of particles from outdoors. The third factor indicated that human activity is the main source of indoor emission of coarse particles. The fourth factor involved only outdoor variables showing the resuspension of coarse ambient aerosol on dry and warm days without its seeming effect on the indoor coarse PM levels. Having in mind that high concentrations of both fine and coarse aerosol were frequently observed in the studied space, our results suggest that indoor exercise in polluted urbanized areas may increase the overall exposure and thus represent a potential health risk to young individuals during physical education at schools.


Indoor air Particulate matter School Physical education Health effects Children 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Braniš
    • 1
  • Jiří Šafránek
    • 2
  • Adéla Hytychová
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Institute for Environmental StudiesCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of Physical Education, Department of Outdoor SportsCharles University in PraguePrague 6Czech Republic

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