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Ultrafine particles in our homes


Many of us spend a lot of time at home at the moment. Does this mean we are not exposed to ultrafine particles? Not really, the HOMEChem research shows.


HOMEChem campaign investigated how everyday activities impact the emissions, chemical transformations, and removal of trace gases and particles in a residential environment. In their recent publication they discuss their findings regarding 1 nm – 20 µm aerosol particles, and further estimate exposures and respiratory-tract deposition. 


Some of the findings seem dramatic. Several researchers have shown that cooking can produce short time PM2.5 concentrations that are as high as in the most polluted cities. In HOMEChem in terms of number concentration, ultrafine particles dominated during cooking. In experiments simulating Thanksgiving Day, number concentrations as high as 2.7×106 cm-3 (2.7 milloin particles/cm3) were observed and ultrafine particles accounted for 97% of the total number of aerosol particles. The mass fraction of UFP among total PM was one third, which is remarkable since the geometric mean diameters during cooking were <20 nm. When cooking using a propane-fuelled stovetop the number concentrations were highest for <10 nm particles .

The researchers also conducted e.g. naked hot plate and naked stove experiments to characterize PM generated during the operation of just the heat source and noticed that most particles were <10 nm.

In the publication you will also find information e.g. about the influence of mopping floors with a bleach solution and ventilation experiments.  If your own focus is on the sub-4 nm particles, do browse through the supplementary material where A11 nCNC data is presented.


Do you want to hear more about the HOMEChem findings from the author himself?

Dr. Sameer Patel will introduce HOMEChem research in a webinar on the 11th of November 2020 at 10 UTC.  There will be another webinar by Sameer in December.
Please register through email:


Please read the full article for details:

Indoor Particulate Matter during HOMEChem: Concentrations, Size Distributions, and Exposures.

Sameer Patel, Sumit Sankhyan, Erin K. Boedicker, Peter F. DeCarlo, Delphine K. Farmer, Allen H. Goldstein, Erin F. Katz, William W Nazaroff, Yilin Tian, Joonas Vanhanen, and Marina E. Vance


For more information about the HOMEChem project:


…and remember to follow @IndoorChem on Twitter

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