Preliminary measurements of aromatic VOCs in public transportation modes in Guangzhou, China

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong, China.
Environment International (Impact Factor: 5.66). 08/2003; 29(4):429-35. DOI: 10.1016/S0160-4120(02)00189-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined the exposure level of aromatic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in public transportation modes in Guangzhou, China. A total of 40 VOC samples were conducted in four popular public commuting modes (subway, taxis, non-air-conditioned buses and air-conditioned buses) while traversing in urban areas of Guangzhou. Traffic-related VOCs (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m/p-xylene and o-xylene) were collected on adsorbent tubes and analyzed by thermal desorption (TD) and gas chromatography/mass-selective detector (GC/MSD) technique. The results indicate that commuter exposure to VOCs is greatly influenced by the choice of public transport. For the benzene measured, the mean exposure level in taxis (33.6 microg/m(3)) was the highest and was followed by air-conditioned buses (13.5 microg/m(3)) and non-air-conditioned buses (11.3 microg/m(3)). The exposure level in the subway (7.6 microg/m(3)) is clearly lower than that in roadway transports. The inter-microenvironment variations of other target compounds were similar to that of benzene. The target VOCs were well correlated to each other in all the measured transports. The concentration profile of the measured transport was also investigated and was found to be similar to each other. Based on the experiment results, the average B/T/E/X found in this study was about (1.0/4.3/0.7/1.4). In this study, the VOC levels measured in evening peak hours were only slightly higher than those in afternoon non-peak hours. This is due to the insignificant change of traffic volume on the measured routes between these two set times. The out-dated vehicle emission controls and slow-moving traffic conditions may be the major reasons leading elevated in-vehicle exposure level in some public commuting journeys.

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