Characteristics of Airborne Particles Inside Southern California Museums

Mary P. Ligocki, Lynn G. Salmon, Theresa Fall,
Michael C. Jones, William W. Nazaroff, and Glen R. Cass
Atmospheric Environment, 27A (1993) 697--711


The concentrations and chemical composition of suspended particulate matter were measured in both the fine and total size modes inside and outside of five southern California museums over summer and winter periods. The seasonally averaged indoor/outdoor ratios for particulate matter mass concentrations ranged from 0.16 to 0.96 for fine particles and from 0.06 to 0.53 for coarse particles, with the lower values observed for buildings with sophisticated ventilation systems which include filters for particulate matter removal. Museums with deliberate particle filtration systems showed indoor fine particle concentrations generally averaging less than 10 ug/m^3. One museum with no environmental control system showed indoor fine particle concentrations averaging nearly 60 ug/m^3 in winter and coarse particle concentrations in the 30-40 ug/m^3 range. Analyses of indoor vs. outdoor concentrations of major chemical species indicated that indoor sources of organic matter may exist at all sites, but that none of the other measured species appear to have major indoor sources at the museums studied. Significant fractions of the dark-colored fine elemental (black) carbon and soil dust particles present in outdoor air are able to penetrate to the indoor atmosphere of the museums studied, and may constitute a soiling hazard to works of art displayed in museums.

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