Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Wayne T. Sanderson, PhD, MS, CIH

Committee Member

David M. Mannino, MD

Committee Member

W. Jay Christian, PhD, MPH


Aim: To measure levels of respirable particles (PM 2.5) and radon in homes in Central Kentucky and assess modifiable risk factors that could reduce the morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

Methods: PM 2.5 and radon samples were taken in homes (n=21) in Central Kentucky. An in- home checklist was completed for each home that assessed a variety of potential environmental respiratory exposures.

Results: The geometric mean of PM 2.5 for all 21 homes was 8.4 μg/m3 which was well below the EPA air quality standard of 35 μg/m3. Smoking status, burning candles, and general cleanliness were statistically significant (P ≤ 0.05) variables in determining elevated PM 2.5 levels. General cleanliness was determined through assessing the amount of dust, animal hair and clutter. Number of pets was statistically significant (P ≤ 0.10) for PM 2.5 as well. None of the variables assessed for radon were statistically significant.

Conclusion: Improving general cleanliness, reducing the number of candles burned, regularly grooming pets, and eliminating smoking in the home could reduce the amount of PM 2.5 in a home. This may be particularly important for people at risk of or who already have a respiratory disease. Prediction of radon levels based on home characteristics may be difficult due to the highly variable levels from home to home. All homeowners, especially those in regions where high levels of radon are known, should test their homes to determine if mitigation is needed. Although more research is needed to look at the association between PM 2.5 exposure and health outcomes in Central Kentucky, there are modifiable factors that may reduce the amount of PM 2.5 in homes.

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