Spatiotemporal variation of particulate matter & risk of exposure in the indoor-outdoor residential environment: a case study from urban city Delhi, India

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi

2 Department of environmental Studies, university of Delhi


Humans spend close to 90% of their time within the indoor environment. Deteriorating indoor air quality, especially high PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 is slowly becoming a major concern. A study was carried out, for two years, to characterize the spatiotemporal variation of PM in the indoor-outdoor environment across different residential setups (R1, R2, R3, and MC) in the Delhi region. The study established correlation between monthly variations of Indoor/Outdoor (I/O) ratios and meteorological factors. The results showed Spatio-temporal variation in the average mass concentrations of PM10 recorded peak values during the winter season (avg. 514± 72.15 µg/m3) and minimum concentration was observed during monsoon (avg. 91.41± 22.64 µg/m3) months. Among all the sites, the mixed cluster (MC), a residential cum commercial zone reported the highest particulate matter concentration (avg. 308.10 ±37.23 µg/m3) and while R2 reported the least concentration (avg. 244.9± 27.65 µg/m3) within the indoor environment. The I/O ratios of particulate matter were observed to be highest in January (I/O ratio1.6) and lowest in June month (I/O ratio 0.8). PM10, PM2.5, and PM1 dynamics were found to be critically influenced by meteorological factors, regular household activities, and diverse building designs. The short- or long-term exposure of particulate pollutants (beyond the permissible limits) can increase the probability of acute health effects, so there is an utmost requirement to collect better and systematic information about actual exposure levels experienced in different urban residential environments.


Alzona, J. B. L. H. H. N. J. O., Cohen, B. L., Rudolph, H., Jow, H. N. and Frohliger, J. O. (1979). Indoor-outdoor relationships for airborne particulate matter of outdoor origin. Atmospheric Environment, 13(1), 55-60.
Arhami, M., Minguillón, M. C., Polidori, A., Schauer, J. J., Delfino, R. J. and Sioutas, C. (2010). Organic compound characterization and source apportionment of indoor and outdoor quasi‐ultrafine particulate matter in retirement homes of the Los Angeles Basin. Indoor air, 20(1), 17-30.
Batterman, S., Du, L., Mentz, G., Mukherjee, B., Parker, E., Godwin, C. and Lewis, T. (2012). Particulate matter concentrations in residences: an intervention study evaluating stand‐alone filters and air conditioners. Indoor air, 22(3), 235-252.
Biglari, H., Geravandi, S., Mohammadi, M. J., Porazmey, E. J., Chuturkova, R. Z., Khaniabadi, Y. O., Goudarzi, G., Mahboubi, M., Mohammadi, B. and Yari, A. R. (2017). Relationship between air particulate matter & meteorological parameters. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 26(6), 4047–4056.
Braniš, M., Řezáčová, P. and Domasová, M. (2005). The effect of outdoor air and indoor human activity on mass concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, and PM1 in a classroom. Environmental research, 99(2), 143-149.
Chen, C. and Zhao, B. (2011). Review of relationship between indoor and outdoor particles: I/O ratio, infiltration factor and penetration factor. Atmospheric Environment, 45(2), 275–288.
Chen, G., Li, S., Zhang, Y., Zhang, W., Li, D., Wei, X., He, Y., Bell, M. L., Williams, G. and Marks, G. B. (2017). Effects of ambient PM1 air pollution on daily emergency hospital visits in China: an epidemiological study. The Lancet Planetary Health, 1(6), e221–e229.
Chen, Q. and Hildemann, L. M. (2009). The effects of human activities on exposure to particulate matter and bioaerosols in residential homes. Environmental Science and Technology, 43(13), 4641–4646.
Chithra, V. S. and Shiva Nagendra, S. M. (2012). Indoor air quality investigations in a naturally ventilated school building located close to an urban roadway in Chennai, India. Building and Environment, 54, 159–167.
Climate services division. (2016, December). Extremes of temperature & rainfall. India Meteorological Department,Pune.
CPCB, Delhi. (2013). Guidelines for the Measurement of Ambient Air Pollutants NAAQMS/36/2012-13 ed., Vol. 1, pp. 15-30.
Ferro, A. R., Kopperud, R. J. and Hildemann, L. M. (2004). Source Strengths for Indoor Human Activities that Resuspend Particulate Matter. Environmental Science and Technology, 38(6), 1759–1764.
Garg, A. and Gupta, N. C. (2020). The great smog month and spatial and monthly variation in air quality in ambient air in Delhi, India. Journal of Health and Pollution, 10(27).
Glytsos, T., Ondráček, J., Džumbová, L., Kopanakis, I. and Lazaridis, M. (2010). Characterization of particulate matter concentrations during controlled indoor activities. Atmospheric Environment, 44(12), 1539–1549.
Gopalaswami, P. (2016). A study on effects of weather, vehicular traffic and other sources of particulate air pollution on the city of Delhi for the year 2015. J Environ Pollut Hum Health, 4(2), 24–41.
Guhathakurta, P., Khedikar, S., Menon, P., Prasad, A. K., Sable, S. T. and Advani, S. C. (2020). Climate Research and Services Observed Rainfall Variability and Changes over Assam State. In IMD Annual Report (Vol. 16). Variability/06(2020)/30
Habil, M., D. Massey, D. and Taneja, A. (2019). Mass and Number and Its Chemical Composition Distribution of Particulate Matter in Different Microenvironments. Indoor Environment and Health, February.
Heydari, G., Taghizdeh, F., Fazlzadeh, M., Jafari, A. J., Asadgol, Z., Mehrizi, E. A. and Arfaeinia, H. (2019). Levels and health risk assessments of particulate matters (PM 2.5 and PM 10) in indoor/outdoor air of waterpipe cafés in Tehran, Iran. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 26(7), 7205-7215.
Hussein, T., Alghamdi, M. A., Khoder, M., AbdelMaksoud, A. S., Al-Jeelani, H., Goknil, M. K., Shabbaj, I. I., Almehmadi, F. M., Hyvärinen, A., Lihavainen, H. and Hämeri, K. (2014). Particulate matter and number concentrations of particles larger than 0.25 μm in the urban atmosphere of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 14(5), 1383–1391.
Hystad, P. U., Setton, E. M., Allen, R. W., Keller, P. C. and Brauer, M. (2009). Modeling residential fine particulate matter infiltration for exposure assessment. Journal of exposure science & environmental epidemiology, 19(6), 570-579.
Jethva, H. T., Chand, D., Torres, O., Gupta, P., Lyapustin, A. and Patadia, F. (2018). Agricultural burning and air quality over northern India: a synergistic analysis using NASA’s A-train satellite data and ground measurements. Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 18(PNNL-SA-125481).
Jones, N. C., Thornton, C. A., Mark, D. and Harrison, R. M. (2000). Indoor/outdoor relationships of particulate matter in domestic homes with roadside, urban and rural locations. Atmospheric Environment, 34(16), 2603–2612.
Kamyotra, J., Saha, D., Tyagi, S. K., Sen, A. K., Srivastava, R. C., & Pathak, A. (2011). Guidelines for the Measurement of Ambient Air Pollutants. Central Pollution Control Board-Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India.
Karakas, B., Lakestani, S., Guler, C., Dogan, B. G., Vaizoglu, S. A., Taner, A., Sekerel, B., Tıpırdamaz, R. and Gullu, G. (2013). Indoor and Outdoor Concentration of Particulate Matter at Domestic Homes. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 7(6), 222–229.
Karuppasamy, M. B., Seshachalam, S., Natesan, U., Ayyamperumal, R., Karuppannan, S., Gopalakrishnan, G. and Nazir, N. (2020). Air pollution improvement and mortality rate during COVID-19 pandemic in India: global intersectional study. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, 13(11), 1375–1384.
Kumar, P., Hama, S., Omidvarborna, H., Sharma, A., Sahani, J., Abhijith, K. V., Debele, S. E., Zavala-Reyes, J. C., Barwise, Y. and Tiwari, A. (2020). Temporary reduction in fine particulate matter due to ‘anthropogenic emissions switch-off’ during COVID-19 lockdown in Indian cities. Sustainable Cities and Society, 62(July), 102382.
Kwon, S. B., Jeong, W., Park, D., Kim, K. T. and Cho, K. H. (2015). A multivariate study for characterizing particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5, and PM1) in Seoul metropolitan subway stations, Korea. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 297(April 2018), 295–303.
Loupa, G., Kioutsioukis, I. and Rapsomanikis, S. (2007). Indoor-outdoor atmospheric particulate matter relationships in naturally ventilated offices. Indoor and Built Environment, 16(1), 63-69.
Mainka, A. and Zajusz-Zubek, E. (2019). PM1 in ambient and indoor air—urban and rural areas in the Upper Silesian Region, Poland. Atmosphere, 10(11), 662.
Massey, D., Kulshrestha, A., Masih, J. and Taneja, A. (2012). Seasonal trends of PM10, PM5.0, PM2.5 & PM1.0 in indoor and outdoor environments of residential homes located in North-Central India. Building and Environment, 47(1), 223–231.
Mathew, J., Goyal, R., Taneja, K. K. and Arora, N. (2014). Study On Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Of Children In Delhi, India. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 133(2), AB97.
Monn, C. H., Fuchs, A., Högger, D., Junker, M., Kogelschatz, D., Roth, N. and Wanner, H. U. (1997). Particulate matter less than 10 μm (PM10) and fine particles less than 2.5 μm (PM2. 5): relationships between indoor, outdoor and personal concentrations. Science of the Total Environment, 208(1-2), 15-21.
Nadali, A., Arfaeinia, H., Asadgol, Z. and Fahiminia, M. (2020). Indoor and outdoor concentration of PM10, PM2. 5 and PM1 in residential building and evaluation of negative air ions (NAIs) in indoor PM removal. Environmental Pollutants and Bioavailability, 32(1), 47-55.
Nagar, P. K., Sharma, M. and Das, D. (2019). A new method for trend analyses in PM10 and impact of crop residue burning in Delhi, Kanpur and Jaipur, India. Urban Climate, 27, 193–203.
Nasir, Z. A., Colbeck, I., Ali, Z. and Ahmad, S. (2013). Indoor particulate matter in developing countries: a case study in Pakistan and potential intervention strategies. Environmental Research Letters, 8(2), 024002.
National commission on population, M. of H. and F. W. (2020). Census of India 2011 population profile for India and state. Projection Report 2011-2036 - upload_compressed_0.pdf
Nkundabose, J. P. (2020). Establishing Relationship between Meteorological Parameters and Criteria Air Pollutants Concentration in Delhi. International Journal of Science and Research Methodology. Human, 15(1), 30–44.
Ohura, T., Amagai, T., Shen, X., Li, S., Zhang, P. and Zhu, L. (2009). Comparative study on indoor air quality in Japan and China: Characteristics of residential indoor and outdoor VOCs. Atmospheric Environment, 43(40), 6352-6359.
Paschold, H., Li, W. W., Morales, H. and Walton, J. (2003). Laboratory study of the impact of evaporative coolers on indoor PM concentrations. Atmospheric Environment, 37(8), 1075–1086.
Patel, S., Sankhyan, S., Boedicker, E. K., DeCarlo, P. F., Farmer, D. K., Goldstein, A. H., Katz, E. F., Nazaroff, W. W., Tian, Y. and Vanhanen, J. (2020). Indoor particulate matter during HOMEChem: Concentrations, size distributions, and exposures. Environmental Science & Technology, 54(12), 7107–7116.
Ravindra, K., Singh, T., Mor, S., Singh, V., Mandal, T. K., Bhatti, M. S. and Beig, G. (2019). Real-time monitoring of air pollutants in seven cities of North India during crop residue burning and their relationship with meteorology and transboundary movement of air. Science of the total environment, 690, 717-729.
Rizwan, S. A., Nongkynrih, B. and Gupta, S. K. (2013). Air pollution in Delhi: its magnitude and effects on health. Indian journal of community medicine: official publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine, 38(1), 4.
Saramak, A. (2019). Comparative analysis of indoor and outdoor concentration of PM10 particulate matter on example of Cracow City Center. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 16(11), 6609-6616.
Sen, A., Ahammed, Y. N., Banerjee, T., Chatterjee, A., Choudhuri, A. K., Das, T. and Mandal, T. K. (2016). Spatial variability in ambient atmospheric fine and coarse mode aerosols over Indo-Gangetic plains, India and adjoining oceans during the onset of summer monsoons, 2014. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 7(3), 521-532.
Sharma, S. K., Mandal, T. K., Jain, S., Sharma, A., & Saxena, M. (2016). Source apportionment of PM2. 5 in Delhi, India using PMF model. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 97(2), 286–293.
Sharma, S. K., Mandal, T. K., Saxena, M., Sharma, A., Datta, A., & Saud, T. (2014). Variation of OC, EC, WSIC and trace metals of PM10 in Delhi, India. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 113, 10–22.
Sidra, S., Ali, Z., Nasir, Z. A., & Colbeck, I. (2015). Seasonal variation of fine particulate matter in residential micro–environments of Lahore, Pakistan. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 6(5), 797–804.
Srivastava, A., & Jain, V. K. (2003). Relationships between indoor and outdoor air quality in Delhi. Indoor and Built Environment, 12(3), 159–165.
Tainio, M., Kukkonen, J., & Nahorski, Z. (2010). Impact of airborne particulate matter on human health: an assessment framework to estimate exposure and adverse health effects in Poland. Archives of Environmental Protection, 36(1), 95-115.
Thatcher, T. L., & Layton, D. W. (1995). Deposition, resuspension, and penetration of particles within a residence. Atmospheric Environment, 29(13), 1487-1497.
Tiwari, S., Chate, D. M., Pragya, P., Ali, K., & Bisht, D. S. (2012). Variations in mass of the PM 10, PM 2.5 and PM 1 during the monsoon and the winter at New Delhi.
Tiwari, S., Chate, D. M., Srivastaua, A. K., Bisht, D. S., & Padmanabhamurty, B. (2012). Assessments of PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations in Delhi at different mean cycles. Geofizika, 29(2), 125–141.
Tiwari, Y. K., Revadekar, J. V., & Ravi Kumar, K. (2013). Variations in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and its association with rainfall and vegetation over India. Atmospheric Environment, 68, 45–51.
Trivedi, D. K., Ali, K., & Beig, G. (2014). Impact of meteorological parameters on the development of fine and coarse particles over Delhi. Science of the Total Environment, 478, 175–183.
Tyagi, A., Bandyopadhyay, B. K., & Mohapatra, M. (2010). Monitoring and prediction of cyclonic disturbances over North Indian ocean by regional specialised meteorological centre, New Delhi (India): problems and prospective. In Indian Ocean tropical cyclones and climate change (pp. 93–103). Springer.
Valavanidis, A., Fiotakis, K., & Vlachogianni, T. (2008). Airborne particulate matter and human health: toxicological assessment and importance of size and composition of particles for oxidative damage and carcinogenic mechanisms. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part C, 26(4), 339-362.
Wan, Y., Chen, C., Wang, P., Wang, Y., Chen, Z. and Zhao, L. (2015). Infiltration characteristic of outdoor fine particulate matter (PM2. 5) for the window gaps. Procedia Engineering, 121, 191-198.
Wang, Y. Q., Zhang, X. Y., Sun, J. Y., Zhang, X. C., Che, H. Z. and Li, Y. (2015). Spatial and temporal variations of the concentrations of PM 10, PM 2.5 and PM1 in China. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 15(23), 13585-13598.
Wang, Y., Hopke, P. K., Xia, X., Rattigan, O. V., Chalupa, D. C. and Utell, M. J. (2012). Source apportionment of airborne particulate matter using inorganic and organic species as tracers. Atmospheric Environment, 55, 525-532.
Wiseman, C. L. and Zereini, F. (2014). Characterizing metal solubility in airborne PM10, PM2. 5 and PM1 in Frankfurt, Germany using simulated lung fluids. Atmospheric Environment, 89, 282-289.
Wu, W., Jin, Y. and Carlsten, C. (2018). Inflammatory health effects of indoor and outdoor particulate matter. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 141(3), 833-844.
Yen, Y. C., Yang, C. Y., Mena, K. D., Cheng, Y. T., Yuan, C. S. and Chen, P. S. (2019). Jumping on the bed and associated increases of PM10, PM2.5, PM1, airborne endotoxin, bacteria, and fungi concentrations.Environmental Pollution, 245(100), 799–809.
Zajusz-Zubek, E., Mainka, A., Korban, Z. and Pastuszka, J. S. (2015). Evaluation of highly mobile fraction of trace elements in PM10 collected in Upper Silesia (Poland): preliminary results. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 6(6), 961-968.
Zwozdziak, A., Sówka, I., Willak-Janc, E., Zwozdziak, J., Kwiecińska, K. and Balińska-Miśkiewicz, W. (2016). Influence of PM1 and PM2.5 on lung function parameters in healthy schoolchildren: a panel study. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23(23), 23892–23901.