Airborne 2,5-dimethylfuran as a marker to indicate exposure to indoor tobacco and biomass burning smoke


Smoke from domestic tobacco smoking and biomass burning is the most harmful indoor air pollutant. This study aimed to evaluate 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) as a marker to indicate exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and biomass burning smoke (BBS) in households. The evaluation consisted of three indoor air monitoring campaigns in (1) 8 apartments with different smoking scenarios, (2) 76 apartments in a Metropolitan city, and (3) 26 homes in two rural areas. All the air samples were collected in a passive way using thermal desorption (TD) tubes and analyzed by TD-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The indoor smoking experiments showed that TD tubes could detect DMF even when the occupant smoked one cigarette every day. In urban homes, DMF detection had a substantial agreement with smoking status, indicated by a Kappa coefficient of 0.67. In rural homes, DMF was detected at high concentrations in homes with biomass burning. Along with DMF, the TD tubes could detect and quantify over 70 other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), allowing exposure and risk assessment for indoor smoke. In conclusion, monitoring DMF with TD tubes offers an easy, low-cost approach to measure domestic ETS and BBS exposures. This method has the potential to measure exposure to outdoor smoke from wildfire and agricultural burning.

Publication Title

Atmospheric Environment