Choi, E.; Tan, Z.; Anderson, W.A. Formation of Secondary Organic Aerosols by Germicidal Ultraviolet Light. Environments2019, 6, 17.
Choi, E.; Tan, Z.; Anderson, W.A. Formation of Secondary Organic Aerosols by Germicidal Ultraviolet Light. Environments 2019, 6, 17.
Ultraviolet (UV) light with a wavelength of 254 nm has proven to be effective at inactivating microorganisms, and thus has been increasingly employed as a method of disinfection for indoor environments. Solar UV wavelengths (300 to 400 nm) are known to initiate the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles from photo-oxidation of volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere, but germicidal wavelengths have not been extensively studied for indoor environments. In this work, toluene was exposed to 254 nm UV light in a laboratory photoreactor, with varying conditions of the air, the duration of UV exposure, and the duration of post-UV time. The number of particles formed in the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) size range was measured, and significant levels of particle formation were observed for UV exposure periods of as short as 5 minutes. The particle formation ranged from 2.4x106 particles/m3 for 5 minutes of UV exposure, to 1449.8x106 particles/m3 for 15 minutes of UV exposure. Particle formation was found to increase with increasing concentrations of gas phase toluene, and at relative humidity of approximately 20% and higher. Variations in the initial number of particles present did not appear to have a significant effect on the particle formation, suggesting that nucleation was not a controlling factor. However, tests in a commercial environment showed no significant detectable PM2.5 formation, indicating that SOA formation during the intermittent use of germicidal UV may not significantly affect indoor air quality.
fine particulate; PM2.5; UV disinfection; indoor air quality
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