A review of commuter exposure to ultrafine particles and its health effects

Knibbs, Luke D., Cole-Hunter, Tom and Morawska, Lidia (2011) A review of commuter exposure to ultrafine particles and its health effects. Atmospheric Environment, 45 16: 2611-2622. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.02.065

Author Knibbs, Luke D.
Cole-Hunter, Tom
Morawska, Lidia
Title A review of commuter exposure to ultrafine particles and its health effects
Journal name Atmospheric Environment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1352-2310
Publication date 2011-05-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.02.065
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 45
Issue 16
Start page 2611
End page 2622
Total pages 12
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Abstract Ultrafine particles (UFPs, <100. nm) are produced in large quantities by vehicular combustion and are implicated in causing several adverse human health effects. Recent work has suggested that a large proportion of daily UFP exposure may occur during commuting. However, the determinants, variability and transport mode-dependence of such exposure are not well-understood. The aim of this review was to address these knowledge gaps by distilling the results of 'in-transit' UFP exposure studies performed to-date, including studies of health effects.We identified 47 exposure studies performed across 6 transport modes: automobile, bicycle, bus, ferry, rail and walking. These encompassed approximately 3000 individual trips where UFP concentrations were measured. After weighting mean UFP concentrations by the number of trips in which they were collected, we found overall mean UFP concentrations of 3.4, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 4.9 and 5.7×10 4particlescm -3 for the bicycle, bus, automobile, rail, walking and ferry modes, respectively. The mean concentration inside automobiles travelling through tunnels was 3.0×10 5particlescm -3.While the mean concentrations were indicative of general trends, we found that the determinants of exposure (meteorology, traffic parameters, route, fuel type, exhaust treatment technologies, cabin ventilation, filtration, deposition, UFP penetration) exhibited marked variability and mode-dependence, such that it is not necessarily appropriate to rank modes in order of exposure without detailed consideration of these factors. Ten in-transit health effects studies have been conducted and their results indicate that UFP exposure during commuting can elicit acute effects in both healthy and health-compromised individuals. We suggest that future work should focus on further defining the contribution of in-transit UFP exposure to total UFP exposure, exploring its specific health effects and investigating exposures in the developing world.
Keyword Air pollution
Transport modes
Acute health effects
Public transport
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 114 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 07 Jan 2013, 19:03:09 EST by Luke Knibbs on behalf of Examinations