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Title: Commuter exposure to aromatic VOCs in public transportation modes in Hong Kong
Authors: Lau, WL
Chan, LY
Keywords: Benzene
Commuter exposure
Public transportation mode
Vehicle exhaust
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: Elsevier
Source: Science of the total environment, 2003, v. 308, no. 1-3, p. 143-155 How to cite?
Journal: Science of the total environment 
Abstract: This study investigated commuter exposure to aromatic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in different commuting microenvironments. In Hong Kong, more than 90% of the local citizens rely on public transport facilities in their daily commutes. During five winter months in late 2001 and early 2002, in-vehicle monitoring was performed in nine popular public transportation modes: tram, public light bus, air-conditioned bus, non-air-conditioned bus, taxi, ferry and three railway systems (Mass Transit Railway-MTR, Kowloon-Canton Railway-KCR and Light Rail Transit-LRT). These transports were grouped into three categories: railway transport, roadway transport and marine transport. Air samples of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and m/p/o-xylene were collected by canisters and analysed by gas chromatography and mass selective detector technique. Results indicated that the in-vehicle VOC exposure levels were greatly influenced by the mode of transport. For benzene, mean concentration ranged from 4.8 to 6.1 μgm-3 in roadway transports, 3.0-3.8 μgm-3 in railway transports and it was 2.1 μgm-3 in ferry. Regardless of the results in MTR and air-conditioned buses, the VOC levels in roadway transport were the highest and was followed by railway transport. The exposure levels in marine transport were the lowest. The TEX concentrations were found to be substantially higher in air-conditioned buses and MTR trains than in other transports, suggesting the existence of additional solvent-related sources in their vehicle interiors. Measurements in non-air-conditioned double deck vehicles indicate that there was slightly higher VOC levels in the lower deck than in the upper deck microenvironment. The average upper to lower deck exposure ratio ranged from 0.79 to 0.87 in trams and 0.78-0.83 in non-air-conditioned buses, depending on the compound of concern. The VOC exposure levels of public transport commuters in Hong Kong are far lower than those in most oversea cities. The experimental concentrations obtained in this study are within the relevant health-protecting limits as stated in the Hong Kong Indoor Air Quality Objective. Influences of recent VOC pollution control measures and local traffic characteristics on in-vehicle level are discussed.
ISSN: 0048-9697
EISSN: 1879-1026
DOI: 10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00647-2
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