Sources and perceptions of indoor and ambient air pollution in rural Alaska

Desirae Ware, Johnnye Lewis, Scarlett Hopkins, Bert Boyer, Curtis Noonan, Tony Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Even though Alaska is the largest state in the United States, much of the population resides in rural and underserved areas with documented disparities in respiratory health. This is especially true in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (southwest) and Ahtna (southcentral) Regions of Alaska. In working with community members, the goal of this study was to identify the air pollution issues (both indoors and outdoors) of concern within these two regions. Over a two-year period, 328 air quality surveys were disseminated within seven communities in rural Alaska. The surveys focused on understanding the demographics, home heating practices, indoor activities, community/outdoor activities, and air quality perceptions within each community. Results from these surveys showed that there is elevated potential for PM10/PM2.5 exposures in rural Alaska communities. Top indoor air quality concerns included mold, lack of ventilation or fresh air, and dust. Top outdoor air pollution concerns identified were open burning/smoke, road dust, and vehicle exhaust (e.g.; snow machines, ATVs, etc.). These data can now be used to seek additional funding for interventions, implementing long-term, sustainable solutions to the identified problems. Further research is needed to assess exposures to PM10/PM 2.5 and the associated impacts on respiratory health, particularly among susceptible populations such as young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-780
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Alaska Native communities
  • Ambient air quality
  • Indoor air quality
  • Particulate matter
  • Respiratory health


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