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J Air Waste Manage Assoc. 1991 Dec;41(12):1594-600.

Commuter exposures to VOCs in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.


This study examines the commuter's exposure to six gasoline-related volatile organic compounds (VOCs): benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m-/p-xylene, o-xylene, and formaldehyde. The VOC concentrations to which commuters were exposed in four different commuting modes (driving, subway, walking, and biking) in Boston, Massachusetts, are compared. The VOC concentrations in participants' homes and offices were also measured. Factors that could influence in-vehicle VOC concentrations, such as different traffic patterns, car model and vehicle ventilation conditions, were also evaluated. Driving a private car was associated with higher VOC concentrations and commuting on urban roadways resulted in the highest VOC concentrations. The use of car heaters resulted in higher in-vehicle VOC concentrations. The longer the subway commuters stayed underground, the higher their VOC exposures. The home-to-work car or subway commute represented about 10 to 20 percent of an individual's total VOC exposure for these compounds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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