Intrusion of airborne pollen through open windows and doors
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The importance of the transport of pollen by air movement into houses was evaluated using six to eight simultaneously collecting rotorod-type samplers, creating either a sampler line from outdoors to inside the room, or a sampler grid inside a room. The number of incoming pollen grains was highly dependent on the outdoor concentration. The highest concentrations inside (1–2 m distance) and outside (1 m) the room were 600 and 3,250 grains/m3, respectively, in the Betula pollen season and 1,980 and 5,080 grains/m3 in the Pinus season. The pollen concentration and the indoor/outdoor (I/O) ratio decreased as the distance from the ventilation opening increased. Inside the room at a distance of 1–2 m 28%, and at a distance of 3–5 m 12%, of the outside concentration was recorded. In the lower part of the opening the mean proportion was 63% and in the upper part of the opening it was 40%. Efficient ventilation with two open windows increased the I/O ratio and enabled the pollen to spread throughout the room. During the Pinus pollen season 3–35% of the outdoor concentration was simultaneously recorded at six locations inside the room with two open windows and only 0.1–3.6% with one open window. At the same point in the room the I/O ratio varied from <1 to 35%, depending on the sampling conditions. Only a minor effect on the I/O ratio was found between small and large ventilation windows and the door, although it was expected that more air and pollen grains would come indoors through a larger opening.
KeywordsAtmospheric transport Betula Indoor exposure Pinus sylvestris Pollen Ventilation
The study was financially supported by the South Karelia Regional Fund of the Finnish Cultural Foundation. We thank Auli Rantio-Lehtimäki for her valuable comments on the manuscript.
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