Health risk assessment associated with volatile organic compounds in a parking garage
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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.
KeywordsAir sample Carcinogens Gas chromatography Vehicles emissions
The authors are grateful to the Kuwait University for funding this project (KISR-EC021S). We would like to thank Dr. Anju Muraleedharan for her on the GC-FID analysis of the collected samples. Special thanks are also due to Mr. Joby Jose and Mr. Abhilash Ninmely for collecting the samples.
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