Volume 16, No. 4, April 2016, Pages 1000-1009 PDF(311 KB)
Characteristics of Respirable Elemental Carbon (EC) Exposures of Household Waste Collectors
Kyong-Hui Lee1, Hye-Jung Jung2, Jung-Ah Shin3, Hyun-Seok Kwak3, Gwang-Yong Yi4, Seung-Hun Ryu5, Kyeong-Min Lee3, Kwon-Chul Ha6, Dong-Uk Park7
1 Department of Environmental Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
2 Health Promotion Center, Catholic Kwandong University, International St. Mary’s Hospital, Incheon, Korea
3 Occupational Lung Disease Institute, Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service, Incheon, Korea
4 Occupational Safety & Health Research Institute, KOSHA, Ulsan, Korea
5 School of Public Health, Korea University, Seoul, Korea
6 Department of Health Science and Biochemistry, Changwon National University, Changwon, Korea
7 Department of Environmental Health, Korea National Open University, Seoul, Korea
- Relatively low exposure to elemental carbon (EC) of household waste collectors (HWC).
- HWC exposed to high organic carbon/EC ratios.
- EC can be used as a surrogate for diesel engine exhaust emissions.
The objectives of this study to characterize exposure to respirable elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon (OC) and total carbon (TC) in relation to waste-handling activities and vehicle characteristics among workers who collect household wastes, and to examine the relationships among EC, OC and TC. A total of 72 household waste collectors were selected for exposure assessment over a full workday and most (70 of 72) exposures were collected from diesel emissions that underwent catalytic after-treatment by diesel particulate filters (DPFs). The exposure assessments were conducted from June through September 2014. Airborne EC and OC from the breathing zone were collected on pre-fired quartz filters and quantified using the thermal optical reflectance method. The average EC exposure level of the household waste collectors was 7.2 µg m–3 with a range of 2.0-30.4 µg m–3. A significant relationship between EC and TC exposure levels was observed (logTC = 0.38 × logEC + 3.22, p < 0.0001, adjusted R2 = 0.23). EC level (µg m–3), truck age (< 10 year-old vs. ≥ 10 year-old), type of waste collection job (collector vs. driver), current smoking status (yes vs. no) and month were found to significantly influence the level of TC exposure (n = 70, adjusted R2 = 0.56, p < 0.0001). The average exposure to EC of household waste collectors can be categorized into the relatively low exposure group when compared to other DE exposure jobs. TC was not a best surrogate for DE exposure in household waste collection environments because it was affected by other OC interferences that were not generated from diesel engines.
House waste collector; Carbon exposure; Elemental carbon; Organic carbon; Respirable carbon.