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Clean Air Journal

On-line version ISSN 2410-972X
Print version ISSN 1017-1703


WERNECKE, Bianca et al. Quantifying potential particulate matter intake dose in a low-income community in South Africa. Clean Air J. [online]. 2021, vol.31, n.2, pp.1-7. ISSN 2410-972X.

Understanding how exposure to particulate matter impacts human health is complex. Personal exposure is a function of the pollution concentrations measured at any given place and time. The health impacts of this exposure are, in part, determined by how high pollutant concentrations are and how much pollution can potentially enter the body. This study considered data gathered in the winter of 2013 in a low-income community on the Mpumalanga Highveld, South Africa, which is a geographical area known for its high air pollution levels. Data collected by GPS monitors worn by individuals in the community were used to understand in which microenvironments people spend most of their time. Participants spent time in five main micro-environments: (highest rank first) inside a house, directly outside a house, on a dirt road, on a tar road, and on an open field. Eight days' worth of ambient, indoor and personal particulate matter measurements were paired with individual GPS positioning data for one study participant. We identified pollutant concentrations where the person spent time and how much particulate matter the person potentially inhaled. Highest concentrations were measured inside the dwelling and directly outside the dwelling of the individual. When comparing directly (ranging from 0.02 -0.76 mg) - and indirectly (0.02 - 0.34 mg) derived time-weighted potential intake doses, directly derived intake doses were higher and more likely to represent how much particulate matter was potentially inhaled by the participant. This study suggests that people living in communities on the Mpumalanga Highveld are exposed to unacceptably high air pollution levels in places in which they spend most of their time. Direct exposure and intake dose assessments are an important element of environmental health studies to supplement data collected by stationary monitors in order to better understand exactly what people are breathing.

Keywords : air pollution exposure; household air pollution; micro-environments.

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