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Children and elders exposure assessment to particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the city of Rome, Italy

Maria Pia Gatto, Claudio Gariazzo, Andrea Gordiani, Nunziata L’Episcopo, Monica Gherardi
Environmental science and pollution research international 2014 v.21 no.23 pp. 13152-13159
European Union, adverse effects, air quality, autumn, children, cigarettes, elderly, elementary students, emissions, environmental factors, exposure assessment, human health, monitoring, particulates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, spring, summer, Italy
It has been amply demonstrated that exposure to fine particulate matter, containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), may have adverse effects on human health, affecting especially the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Among population, school-age children and elders present particular susceptibilities and unique exposures to environmental factors. The study presented in this paper belongs to the Project EXPAH, founded by the European (EU) LIFE+ instrument, and consists of the personal monitoring of five elementary school children and four elders during the spring and the summer/autumn of the year 2012 in the city of Rome, Italy. The average exposure, expressed as the sum of eight high-molecular-weight PAHs, resulted equal to 0.70 ng/m³(SD = 0.37) for children and 0.59 ng/m³(SD = 0.23) for the elderly people. The mean levels of gravimetric PM₂.₅were equal to 23 μg/m³(SD = 10) and 15 μg/m³(SD = 4) for children and elders, respectively. During spring and summer seasons, personal BaPₑqresulted well below the EU Air Quality reference value of 1 ng/m³. The personal monitoring average values were in the same order of magnitude with available indoor and outdoor environmental data in Rome during the same periods, for both PAHs and PM₂.₅. The results suggest that, during non-heating seasons, the personal exposure to PAHs in the city of Rome can be mainly ascribed to the urban background, especially traffic emissions and road dust resuspension; secondhand cigarette smoke can be also considered another possible source of PAHs personal exposure.