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Health risk assessment associated with volatile organic compounds in a parking garage

Ramadan, A., Yassin, M. F., Alshammari, B. Z.
International journal of environmental science and technology 2019 v.16 no.6 pp. 2549-2564
United States Environmental Protection Agency, air, air pollutants, air pollution, benzene, breathing, carbon tetrachloride, carcinogenicity, ethylbenzene, flame ionization, health effects assessments, hospitals, human health, neoplasms, quality control, risk, stainless steel, toluene, traffic, volatile organic compounds, xylene, Asia, Europe, North America
Most volatile organic compounds are considered potentially harmful air pollutants to the environment and most importantly human health. The present work investigated the concentrations of 72 volatile organic compounds commonly emitted from the vehicular exhausts at a hospital parking garage. The objective was set to assess the associated health risk due to inhalation of these compounds during weekdays versus weekends. Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health risks were assessed using the US Environmental Protection Agency conventional approach. A total of 112 air samples were collected inside the hospital parking garage using six-liter evacuated Silonite™-coated polished stainless steel canisters. Triplicate sampling was used for quality assurance/quality control purposes. The air samples were analyzed using the gas chromatography with flame ionization detection system, which followed the US Environmental Protection Agency TO-15 Method. The overall 24-h concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes were 6.78, 31.14, 11.35, and 27.85 μg/m³, respectively. These values were comparable to values reported in Europe, North America, and Asia. The weekend concentrations were lower than the weekday ones. Halogenated compounds had the highest contribution of volatile organic compounds groups to total concentrations in both weekday and weekend. The weekday and weekend concentrations temporal cycles were characterized, and they were correlated with the traffic activity inside the parking garage. Two of the measured compounds (i.e., tetrachloromethane and 1,2-dibromoethane) were discovered to pose definite cancer risk. To our knowledge, this is the first study in the region which looks at volatile organic compound levels in a parking garage and the associated health risks.