Is That House an Air Filter?

January/February 2013
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2013 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 02, 2013
Over the last few decades, epidemiological research has consistently shown that elevated outdoor concentrations of airborne particulate matter are associated with increases in a variety of adverse health effects, including respiratory symptoms, stroke, heart attack, and mortality. Pope and Dockery (2006) provide an excellent review of many of these previous studies, although many other excellent studies also exist. Most of these important associations have been found using outdoor particle concentration data, but only recently have we begun to realize that much of our exposure to outdoor particulate matter actually occurs inside buildings, particularly in residences where we spend most of our time. Additionally, differences in indoor exposures to outdoor particulate matter may actually drive some of the differences in adverse health effects observed in different regions (Chen et al. 2012; Hodas et al. 2012).

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