Indoor air quality in inner-city schools and its associations with building characteristics and environmental factors

Ehsan Majd, Meredith McCormack, Meghan Davis, Frank Curriero, Jesse Berman, Faith Connolly, Philip Leaf, Ana Rule, Timothy Green, Dorothy Clemons-Erby, Christine Gummerson, Kirsten Koehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Indoor concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and carbon monoxide (CO) were measured across 16 urban public schools in three different seasons. Exceedance of the WHO guidelines for indoor air was observed, mainly for the hourly average NO2 concentrations. Seasonal variability was statistically significant for indoor NO2 and CO concentrations, with higher exposures in fall and winter. An extensive list of potential factors at the outdoor environment, school, and room level that may explain the variability in indoor exposure was examined. Factors with significant contributions to indoor exposure were mostly related to the outdoor pollution sources. This is evidenced by the strong associations between indoor concentration of CO and NO2 and factors including outdoor PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations, including length of the nearby roads and the number of nearby industrial facilities. Additionally, we found that poor conditions of the buildings (a prevalent phenomenon in the studied urban area), including physical defects and lack of proper ventilation, contributed to poor air quality in schools. The results suggest that improving building conditions and facilities as well as a consideration of the school surroundings may improve indoor air quality in schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Baltimore City Public Schools for their kind contributions. This article was developed under Assistance Agreements No. EPA-G2013-STAR-H1 and No. 83615201 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Dr. Meredith C. McCormack, and Dr. Nadia N. Hansel, respectively. It has not been formally reviewed by EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Agency. EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication. This research was also supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number P50ES018176 . Dr. Meghan Davis was supported by NIH ORIP Grant 1K01OD019918 .


  • Building characteristics
  • Environmental factors
  • Exposure
  • Indoor air quality
  • School

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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