Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 695–704 | Cite as

Indoor air pollutant exposure and determinant factors controlling household air quality for elderly people in Hong Kong

  • Xinning Tong
  • Bei Wang
  • Wen-Ting Dai
  • Jun-Ji Cao
  • Steven Sai Hang Ho
  • Timothy C. Y. Kwok
  • Ka-Hei Lui
  • Chun-Ming Lo
  • K. F. HoEmail author


This study investigated the levels and determinant factors of indoor air pollutants including fine particles (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and formaldehyde (HCHO) in 55 households exclusively for the elderly in Hong Kong during summer and winter (Jul.–Sep. 2016 and Nov. 2016–Mar. 2017). The average concentrations of PM2.5, NO2, and formaldehyde were 25.3 ± 15.0, 40.5 ± 16.0, and 26.1 ± 22.8 μg/m3 in summer and 34.2 ± 19.0, 43.5 ± 17.0, and 15.4 ± 4.5 μg/m3 in winter, respectively. There were ~ 50.3% of households exceeding the World Health Organization indoor air quality standard for PM2.5 throughout the study, with ~ 40.6 and ~61.0% of the households in summer and winter, respectively. The determinant factors for indoor PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations were identified as from incense burning and cooking. Cooking with suitable ventilation is an important factor to ease indoor pollutant concentrations. Both of PM2.5 and NO2 indoor concentrations showed good correlations with outdoor concentrations. Winter was observed with higher pollutant concentrations than summer except for formaldehyde concentrations. Major factors controlling indoor formaldehyde concentrations are temperature and humidity. The outcome will be useful for the development of future indoor air quality guidelines for Hong Kong.


Household air pollutant Nitrogen dioxide Fine particulate matter Formaldehyde Hong Kong 



The authors would like to thank all of the families, experts, and field/laboratory technicians who participated in this campaign.

Funding information

This study was supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China (Project No. CUHK 412413).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11869_2018_576_MOESM1_ESM.docx (334 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 333 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xinning Tong
    • 1
  • Bei Wang
    • 2
  • Wen-Ting Dai
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jun-Ji Cao
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
  • Steven Sai Hang Ho
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Timothy C. Y. Kwok
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
  • Ka-Hei Lui
    • 1
  • Chun-Ming Lo
    • 10
  • K. F. Ho
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary CareThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Faculty of Science and TechnologyTechnological and Higher Education Institute of Hong KongHong KongChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, SKLLQG, Institute of Earth EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  4. 4.The State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  5. 5.Division of Atmospheric SciencesDesert Research InstituteRenoUSA
  6. 6.Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  7. 7.CUHK Jockey Club Institute of AgeingThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  8. 8.Department of Medicine & TherapeuticsThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  9. 9.Jockey Club Centre for Osteoporosis Care and ControlThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  10. 10.Stanley Ho Big Data Decision Analytics Research CentreThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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