Indoor air quality in schools of a highly polluted south Mediterranean area

Gianluca Scaccianoce, Giuliana Ferrante, Gianfranco Rizzo, Paolo Colombo, Gianfranco Rizzo, Fabio Cibella, Giuseppina Cuttitta, Gaspare Drago, Christopher Zammit, Giuliana Ferrante, David Bilocca, Silvia Ruggieri, Valeria Longo, Cinzia Perrino, Mario R Melis, Giuseppe Piva, Charles Borg, Remo Minardi, Luca L’Abbate, Martin BalzanRosaria Ristagno, Salvatore Bucchieri, Silvia Canepari, Stephen Montefort, Stefania La Grutta, Giovanni Viegi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed at surveying lower secondary schools in southern Italy, in a highly polluted area. A community close to an industrial area and three villages in rural areas was investigated. Indoor temperature, relative humidity (RH), gaseous pollutants (CO 2 and NO 2 ), selected biological pollutants in indoor dust, and the indoor/outdoor mass concentration and elemental composition of PM 2.5 were ascertained. Temperature and RH were within, or close to, the comfort range, while CO 2 frequently exceeded the threshold of 1000 ppm, indicating inadequate air exchange rate. In all the classrooms, median NO 2 levels were above the WHO threshold value. Dermatophagoides p. allergen concentration was below the sensitizing threshold, while high endotoxin levels were detected in the classrooms, suggesting schools may produce significant risks of endotoxin exposure. Concentration and solubility of PM 2.5 elements were used to identify the sources of indoor particles. Indoor concentration of most elements was higher than outdoors. Resuspension was responsible for the indoor increase in soil components. For elements from industrial emission (Cd, Co, Ni, Pb, Sb, Tl, V), the indoor concentration depended on penetration from the outside. For these elements, differences in rural vs industrial concentrations were found, suggesting industrial sources may influence indoor air quality nearby schools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-290
Number of pages15
JournalIndoor Air
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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  • Cite this

    Scaccianoce, G., Ferrante, G., Rizzo, G., Colombo, P., Rizzo, G., Cibella, F., Cuttitta, G., Drago, G., Zammit, C., Ferrante, G., Bilocca, D., Ruggieri, S., Longo, V., Perrino, C., Melis, M. R., Piva, G., Borg, C., Minardi, R., L’Abbate, L., ... Viegi, G. (2019). Indoor air quality in schools of a highly polluted south Mediterranean area. Indoor Air, 29, 276-290.