Seasonal and Yearly Patterns of Indoor Nitrogen Dioxide Levels: Data from Albuquerque, New Mexico

Margo Schwab, Aidan McDermott, John D. Spengler, Jonathan M. Samet, William E. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


There are few data sets appropriate for characterizing the indoor concentrations of air pollutants over the long term. An understanding of the variability in indoor pollutant levels is particulurly relevant to the design of epidemiologic investigations: misclassifiation of exposure due to the inaccuracy of exposure estimates tends to weaken the association of exposure with health outcome. This paper uses a series of indoor NO2 measurements collected at two‐week intervals over 18‐month periods between 1988 and 1991 to describe the seasonal and year‐to‐year variability in indoor NO2,. The data show that there can be large year‐to‐year differences in both the sample distribution of indoor NO2 as well as the household average. For homes with gas ranges with continuously‐burning pilot lights, the average bedroom NO2 concentration was 25% higher in the winter of 1990‐1991 than in the winter of 1989‐1990 but only 4% higher during the winter of 1988‐1989 than during the winter of 1989‐1990. The winter‐to‐winter correlations within homes ranged from a low of 0.53 to a high of 0.88. The year‐to‐year differences in mean indoor concentrations were not related to temperature patterns. Occupant behaviors that influence air exchange rate and/or source use are hypothesized to be the major determinant of the observed pattern. Exposure data collected during a single year should be cautiously extrapolated to other years. However, in Albuquerque homes, the data suggest that the year‐to‐year variability in household NO2 levels will not have a strong impact on classifying exposure into broad categories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-22
Number of pages15
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Human exposure
  • Indoor air
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Passive monitoring
  • Seasonal pollution patterns
  • Yearly variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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