Particulate matter (PM) is a major primary pollutant emitted during wildland fires that has the potential to pose significant health risks to individuals/communities who live and work in areas impacted by smoke events. Limiting exposure is the principle measure available to mitigate health impacts of smoke and therefore the accurate determination of ambient PM concentrations during wildland fire events is critical to protecting public health. However, monitoring air pollutants in smoke impacted environments has proven challenging in that measurement interferences or sampling conditions can result in both positive and negative artifacts. The EPA has performed research on methods for the measurement of PM2.5 in a series of laboratory-based studies including evaluation in smoke. This manuscript will summarize the results of the laboratory-based evaluation of federal equivalent method (FEM) monitors for PM2.5 with particular attention being given to the Teledyne-API Model T640 PM Mass monitor, as compared to the filter-based federal reference method (FRM). The T640 is an optical-based PM monitor and has been gaining wide use by state and local agencies in monitoring for PM2.5 U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) attainment. At present, the T640 (includes both T640 and T640x) comprises ~44% of the PM2.5 FEM monitors in U.S. regulatory monitoring networks. In addition, the T640 has increasingly been employed for the higher time resolution comparison/evaluation of low-cost PM sensors including during smoke impacted events. Results from controlled non-smoke laboratory studies using generated ammonium sulfate aerosols demonstrated a generally negative T640 measurement artifact that was significantly related to the PM2.5 concentration and particle size distribution. Results from biomass burning chamber studies demonstrated positive and negative artifacts significantly associated with PM2.5 concentration and optical wavelength-dependent absorption properties of the smoke aerosol.
Long, Russell W.; Urbanski, Shawn P.; Lincoln, Emily; Colon, Maribel; Kaushik, Surender; Krug, Jonathan D.; Vanderpool, Robert W.; Landis, Matthew S. 2023. Summary of PM2.5 measurement artifacts associated with the Teledyne T640 PM Mass Monitor under controlled chamber experimental conditions using polydisperse ammonium sulfate aerosols and biomass smoke. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association. 73(4): 295-312.