Real-time air monitoring of occupational exposures to particulate matter among hairdressers in Maryland: A pilot study

Yuan Shao, Lucy Kavi, Meleah Boyle, Lydia M. Louis, Walkiria Pool, Stephen B. Thomas, Sacoby Wilson, Ana M. Rule, Lesliam Quiros-Alcala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hairdressers are exposed to particulate matter (PM), a known air pollutant linked to adverse health effects. Still, studies on occupational PM exposures in hair salons are sparse. We characterized indoor air PM concentrations in three salons primarily serving an African/African American (AA) clientele, and three Dominican salons primarily serving a Latino clientele. We also assessed the performance of low-cost sensors (uRAD, Flow, AirVisual) by comparing them to high-end sensors (DustTrak) to conduct air monitoring in each salon over 3 days to quantify work shift concentrations of PM2.5, respirable PM (RPM), and PM10. We observed high spatial and temporal variability in 30-min time-weighted average (TWA) RPM concentrations (0.18–5518 μg/m3). Readings for the uRAD and AirVisual sensors were highly correlated with the DustTrak (R2 = 0.90–0.99). RPM 8-hour TWAs ranged from 18 to 383 µg/m3 for AA salons, and 9–2115 µg/m3 for Dominican salons. Upper 95th percentiles of daily RPM exposures ranged from 439 to 2669 µg/m3. The overall range of 30-min TWA PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations was 0.13–5497 and 0.36-,541 μg/m3, respectively. Findings suggest that hairdressers could be overexposed to RPM during an 8-hour shift. Additional comprehensive monitoring studies are warranted to further characterize temporal and spatial variability of PM exposures in this understudied occupational population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1144-1153
Number of pages10
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • PM10
  • PM2.5
  • hair salons
  • indoor air
  • low-cost sensors
  • particulate matter
  • respirable PM (RPM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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