Assessing Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations Across Dalhousie University’s Studley Campus
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This report aims to provide an assessment of the air quality across Dalhousie’s Studley campus; primarily focusing on a group of aerosols with an aerodynamic diameter ranging from 1 μm to 10 μm, known as particulate matter. Particulate matter is of interest due to the risk it introduces to respiratory and cardiovascular systems in individuals exposed to elevated concentrations on both a short-term and long-term scale (WHO, 2017). Measurements were taken using two instruments manufactured by TSI. Inc and were lent to the team by the Health and Environment Research Centre (HERC) Laboratory at Dalhousie University . The first instrument being the DustTrak DRX (model no. 8533), which continuously monitors mass and size fractions for particles in the air, specifically PM 1 , PM 2.5 , PM 10 and total PM. In addition, the Condensation Particle Counter (model no. 3007) was used to measure total particle counts, specifically particles <1 μm in size. Using the aforementioned devices, 8 different sites across the Studley Campus were measured at two different times during the day, 11:15 AM and 7:00 PM to observe if changes in pedestrian and vehicular traffic had an effect on particulate matter concentrations. Overall, 16 unique combinations of location and time were sampled each with 5 replicates due to sampling each time period once per day for 5 days. Data was analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), with a 95% confidence interval using Minitab 17. ANOVA was used to test significance between two factors; time and location to provide data on pedestrian/traffic effects on particulate matter concentrations, as well as significance between locations on Studley campus. Particulate matter concentrations across campus are homogenous when comparing 11:15 AM concentrations against 7:00 PM concentrations, suggesting that higher pedestrian and vehicular traffic does not have a significant impact on particulate matter concentrations. Particulate matter concentrations between locations also appeared to be homogenous and there was no significant difference in concentrations aside from the Dalplex entrance area, which appeared to have significantly higher PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentrations - likely due to the ongoing construction in the area. Due to the brevity of the sampling period, it is difficult to ascertain whether or not the elevated concentrations at the Dalplex pose a risk to the health and safety of students in faculty, but suggests that further data should be collected to better characterize the air quality within Studley campus.