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Chemical Characterization of Indoor and Outdoor Particulate Matter (PM2.5, PM10) in Doha, Qatar

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Volume: 17 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 1156-1168
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2016.05.0198
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Dikaia Saraga1, Thomas Maggos 1, Eman Sadoun2, Eleni Fthenou2, Hala Hassan3, Vasiliki Tsiouri3, Sotirios Karavoltsos4, Aikaterini Sakellari4, Christos Vasilakos1, Konstantinos Kakosimos3

  • 1 Environmental Research Laboratory, INRASTES, NCSR "DEMOKRITOS", Aghia Paraskevi Attikis, 15310 Athens, Greece
  • 2 Biomedical Research Department, Ministry of Public Health, (null), Qatar
  • 3 Chemical Engineering Department, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
  • 4 National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Dept. of Chemistry, Section III, Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry, Panepistimiopolis, 15784 Athens, Greece


Indoor/outdoor PM chemical characterization studies in Middle East Area are limited.
EC and WHO limit values for PM10, PM2.5 were exceeded in 100% of the sampling days.
PM composition depicts the contribution of both dust and anthropogenic emissions.
Indoor and outdoor PM are strongly correlated in cases of a non-isolated building.
High outdoor PM mass load lead to high percentage of the unidentified mass.


Τhe extreme weather conditions in Middle East Area led to the construction of tightly sealed, air conditioned buildings, characterized by indoor air quality deterioration. This study presents the results of chemical characterization of outdoor and indoor PM2.5 and PM10 in Doha city, over a two-month period including normal days and dust events, aiming at identifying the factors affecting the indoor air of an office building. The WHO guideline values were exceeded in 100% of the outdoor measurements. 49% of the days of the sampling campaign were characterized as non-dusty (PM10 < 200 µg m–3), 49% as minor-dusty (200 < PM10 < 1000 µg m–3) while in one case (2%) there was a major-dusty day (PM10 > 1000 µg m–3). The contribution of both dust and anthropogenic emissions sources is depicted in particles’ mass and chemical composition. The elevated –especially outdoor- levels of carbonate carbon indicate the presence of crustal matter originating from the surrounding crustal material. OC/EC values reveal possible combined contribution from secondary organic aerosol, traffic-related sources and re-suspended dust. The influence of anthropogenic emissions is implied by the predominance of nitrate and sulfate ions, which constitute a substantial percentage of the particle mass. The crustal origin of particles is also depicted in metals. However, the higher enrichment factor values which may imply anthropogenic activities of both the outdoor and indoor environment were determined sequentially for Cd, Pb, As, Cu and Zn, suggesting the role of infiltration. Concluding, the indoor to outdoor relationship is significantly influenced by particles infiltration and penetration into the building mainly through the ventilation system and to a lesser extent, through windows or cracks in the building envelope. Although the low indoor to outdoor ratio underlies the predominance of outdoor levels compared to the indoor ones, there is positive correlation between indoor and outdoor PM, during the days that the building was open to the public and employees.


Middle East Dust events I/O PM PM chemical composition Infiltration

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