Pollution hits rural areas too

November 24, 2000

A country home may suffer less indoor pollution than one in town, but the air is certainly not clean, says researchers at Cardiff University.

Gypsum, salt and allergens such as pollen dominated indoor samples from rural areas collected by Roy Richards, Kelly BéruBé and colleagues at Cardiff University. Soot particles that probably originated from car exhausts were most common in urban homes. Smelter particles were also found in homes within and near industrial areas.

The exact source of the particles was difficult to ascertain. However, cooking, smoking and decorating always left their unmistakably strong mark.

Richards noted that much of the mass of collected matter was a gluey coating on the particles, a chemical mass that has yet to be identified.

BéruBé found equal levels of air pollution in different rooms of the house regardless of the source. She also identified a seasonal pattern - levels rose in the winter when windows were kept closed and heaters were switched on.

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