Exposure to PM2.5 in modern office buildings through elemental characterization and oxidative potential

Tamás Szigeti, Zsófia Kertész, Christina Dunster, Frank J. Kelly, Gyula Záray, Victor G. Mihucz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


Fifty samples of indoor and outdoor PM2.5 were collected onto quartz fiber and Teflon membrane filters in five office buildings equipped with heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system for 8h daily in order to coincide with the work shift of employees. Samples were analyzed for i) mass concentration; ii) elemental concentration; and iii) oxidative potential (OP) through antioxidant depletion. The PM2.5 mass concentration exceeded the annual mean guideline of 10μgm-3 WHO in 50% of the samples. Indoor and outdoor PM2.5 mass concentrations correlated almost linearly. Proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) spectrometry was used for the monitoring of 21 elements. Quantitative determination was achieved in the case of Teflon filters only for Al, Si, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe and Zn at ngm-3 concentration level. Quartz fiber filters were less adequate for the PIXE measurements due to their greater thickness and filamentary structure. Ca, Cr, Zn and Ti had generally higher concentration (mgg-1) indoors. Indoor/outdoor (I/O) OP values were higher than one in 14% and 57% of the samples in the case of ascorbate and reduced glutathione (GSH), respectively. Spatial and temporal variations of OP were observed across the office buildings. The I/O ratios for OP, Cr and Zn concentrations in the case of GSH were higher for three buildings. Significant relationship was observed between GSH oxidation and Cr and Zn concentrations. Thus, employees were exposed to a higher extent to reactive oxygen species in three buildings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • Indoor air quality
  • Occupational health
  • Office building
  • Oxidative potential
  • Particulate matter
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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