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Characteristics of Respirable Elemental Carbon (EC) Exposures of Household Waste Collectors

Category: Urban Air Quality

Volume: 16 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 1000-1009
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.06.0414
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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 Park 7

  • 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

Highlights

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.


Abstract

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.

Keywords

House waste collector Carbon exposure Elemental carbon Organic carbon Respirable carbon


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