Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 4, Issue 3–4, pp 221–233 | Cite as

Seasonal patterns of outdoor PM infiltration into indoor environments: review and meta-analysis of available studies from different climatological zones in Europe

  • Otto HänninenEmail author
  • Gerard Hoek
  • Sandra Mallone
  • Elisabetta Chellini
  • Klea Katsouyanni
  • Claudio Gariazzo
  • Giorgio Cattani
  • Achille Marconi
  • Peter Molnár
  • Tom Bellander
  • Matti Jantunen


Epidemiologists have observed higher risks for exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) in the summer than in other seasons. This increased risk may be partly due to seasonal behaviour and higher exposures to indoor PM in the summer in relation to outdoor pollutant levels during winter when windows are kept closed and less time is spent outdoors. In this report, we analyse data from six European studies, based on three different methods of estimating outdoor to indoor infiltration factors, with the aim of characterizing the geographical and seasonal patterns of PM infiltration. The highest infiltration levels were observed for the summer in both a European combined dataset consisting of 382 observations of the average PM2.5 infiltration factor for 1 day to 2weeks in regional data sets for Northern, Central and Southern Europe as well as for all ten cities individually. Th lowest values were observed for the winter, with spring and autumn displaying intermediate values. In all datasets and cities, the variability between residences and days within each season was much higher than the seasonal trend. PM10 data were available from two studies, revealing that the PM10 infiltration factors ranged from 70 to 92% of the corresponding PM2.5 values. Some differences between the studies may be associated with the study designs and applied methods of determining the infiltration factor. The ratio of summer to winter PM2.5 infiltration ranged from 1.3 in Rome to 2.3 in Helsinki, and the corresponding regional ratio ranged from 1.5 in Central Europe to 1.8 in Northern and Southern Europe. It is suggested that similar differences can be expected in epidemiological concentration–response relationships due to the modification in seasonal exposure associated with buildings and time spent indoors.


Ambient particulate matter (PM) Infiltration Ventilation Seasonal effects Exposure misclassification 



This work has been supported by EU Contracts FP7-ENV-2009-1-243406 (TRANSPHORM), EVK4-CT-2002-00097 (FUMAPEX) and N ENV4-CT96-0202 (EXPOLIS; DG12-DTEE), Academy of Finland Contracts 133792 (PM Sizex), 36586, 40835 and 42610, and intramural funding by THL. RUPIOH was funded by the European Union Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources programme, contract QLRT-2001-00452. The Swedish work was supported by the Swedish National Air Pollution and Health Effects Programme (SNAP) and the Swedish Environment Protection Agency.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Otto Hänninen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gerard Hoek
    • 2
  • Sandra Mallone
    • 3
  • Elisabetta Chellini
    • 3
  • Klea Katsouyanni
    • 4
  • Claudio Gariazzo
    • 5
  • Giorgio Cattani
    • 6
  • Achille Marconi
    • 7
  • Peter Molnár
    • 8
  • Tom Bellander
    • 9
  • Matti Jantunen
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental HealthNational Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)KuopioFinland
  2. 2.Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS)Utrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands
  3. 3.Cancer Prevention and Research InstituteFlorenceItaly
  4. 4.Medical SchoolUniversity of AthensAthensGreece
  5. 5.ISPESL-DIPIAMonteporzio Catone (RM)Italy
  6. 6.Institute for Environmental Protection and ResearchRomeItaly
  7. 7.Istituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly
  8. 8.University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  9. 9.Institute of Environmental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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