Characteristics of indoor air quality at urban elementary schools in Seoul, Korea: Assessment of effect of surrounding environments

Jinho Yang, Insick Nam, Hyunjun Yun, Jinman Kim, Hyeon Ju Oh, Dohee Lee, Si Moon Jeon, Seung Ho Yoo, Jong Ryeul Sohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The indoor environment of schools where children stay for long periods of time is a matter of primary concern due to the vulnerability and sensibility of children to air pollutant exposure. The aims of this study were to characterize the indoor air quality of elementary schools in Seoul, Korea, to compare the indoor levels according to the surrounding environments and year of remodeling. The air pollutants, including particle matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), total bacteria count (TBC), total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) and formaldehyde (HCHO), were sampled during autumn from classrooms and laboratories at 116 elementary schools employing natural ventilation. The schools were selected based on their surrounding environments: surrounded by buildings (SB), roadways (RW), and mountains (MT). The indoor air quality measured at elementary schools in Seoul, Korea showed generally low levels of pollutants due to low occupancy and adequate ventilation and the indoor levels of PM10 and TBC in schools near roadways were significantly lower than other surrounding environments due to dispersion of pollutants, without obstruction by buildings and mountains. TVOC and HCHO concentrations of schools remodeled within a year were significantly higher. Therefore, suitable management for school building characteristics is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1122
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Pollution Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This subject is supported by Korea Ministry of Environment as “The Environmental Health Action Program” and “Converging technology project”, by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, and by Korea University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Turkish National Committee for Air Pollution Research and Control. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Elementary school
  • Indoor air quality
  • Korea
  • Surrounding environment
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science


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