The impact of household air cleaners on the oxidative potential of PM<sub>2.5</sub> and the role of metals and sources associated with indoor and outdoor exposure.


The health effects associated with human exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) have been linked to the ability of PM2.5 to facilitate the production of excess cellular reactive oxygen species (oxidative potential). Concern about the adverse human health impacts of PM2.5 has led to the increased use of indoor air cleaners to improve indoor air quality, which can be an important environment for PM2.5 exposure. However, the degree to which the oxidative potential of indoor and personal PM2.5 can be influenced by an indoor air cleaner remains unclear. In this study we enrolled 43 children with physician diagnosed asthma in suburban Shanghai, China and collected two paired-sets of 48-h indoor, outdoor, and personal PM2.5 exposure samples. One set of samples was collected under "real filtration" during which a functioning air cleaner was installed in the child's bedroom, and the other ("false filtration") with an air cleaner without internal filters. The PM2.5 samples were characterized by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy for elements, and by an alveolar macrophage assay for oxidative potential. The sources of metals contributing to our samples were determined by the EPA Positive Matrix Factorization model. The oxidative potential was lower under real filtration compared to sham for indoor (median real/sham ratio: 0.260) and personal exposure (0.813) samples. Additionally, the sources of elements in PM2.5 that were reduced indoors and personal exposure samples by the air cleaner (e.g. regional aerosol and roadway emissions) were found by univariate multiple regression models to be among those contributing to the oxidative potential of the samples. An IQR increase in the regional aerosol and roadway emissions sources was associated with a 107% (95% CI: 80.1-138%) and 38.1% (17.6-62.1%) increase in measured oxidative potential respectively. Our results indicate that indoor air cleaners can reduce the oxidative potential of indoor and personal exposure to PM2.5, which may lead to improved human health.