Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Carrie Redlich

Second Advisor

Martin Slade


Rationale: Little is known about the home environment and associated indoor exposures to brown carbon and black carbon, components that make up fine particulate air pollution.

Objective: Identify how features of the residential environment contribute to indoor measurements of brown and black carbon.

Methods: Between November 2012 and December 2014, 125 veterans who were part of a COPD cohort were recruited for this study. At roughly 3 month intervals, participants received a particle sampler to measure air pollutants in their home for a 1-week period. The filters within the samplers were analyzed for levels of black and brown carbon using the OT21 Transmissometer. Home environmental questionnaires were completed at baseline and for each measurement period. Outdoor black carbon averages were measured at a central site. Multivariate linear mixed effect modeling with a backward elimination strategy was utilized to generate specific parsimonious models for the dependent variables of indoor black and brown carbon levels.

Main Results: 131 different home addresses were included in the final sample. Indoor candle or incense use, home type, season, air conditioning use and outdoor levels of black carbon significantly predicted indoor black carbon levels in multivariate analysis. Heat type and season were the only variables that significantly predicted indoor brown carbon levels. Additionally, the mean indoor measurements of black carbon (0.688 ± 0.282 µg/m³) were approximately 20% higher than the mean external central site measurements (0.568 ± 0.232 µg/m³).

Conclusions: Home characteristics and the residential environment are associated with indoor air pollutants. Decreased exposure to black carbon and brown carbon, through altering variables in the residential setting, could improve indoor air pollution levels.

Open Access

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