Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 19, pp 18412–18423 | Cite as

Variations in individuals’ exposure to black carbon particles during their daily activities: a screening study in Brazil

  • Amanda Maria Carvalho
  • Patricia Krecl
  • Admir Créso Targino
Research Article


Black carbon (BC) is a fraction of airborne PM2.5 emitted by combustion, causing deleterious effects on human health. Due to its abundance in cities, assessing personal exposure to BC is of utmost importance. Personal exposure and dose of six couples with different working routines were determined for 48 h based on 1-min mobile BC measurements and on ambient concentrations monitored simultaneously at home (outdoor) and at a suburban site. Although couples spent on average ~ 10 h together at home, the routine of each individual in other microenvironments led to 3–55% discrepancies in exposure between partners. The location of the residences and background concentrations accounted for the differences in inter-couple exposure. The overall average exposure and dose by gender were not statistically different. The personal exposure and dose calculated with datasets from fixed sites were lower than the calculations using data from mobile measurements, with the largest divergences (between four and nine times) in the transport category. Even though the individuals spent only 7% of the time commuting, this activity contributed to between 17 and 20% of the integrated exposure and inhaled dose, respectively. On average, exposure was highest on bus trips, while pedestrians and bus passengers had lower doses. Open windows elevated the in-car exposure and dose four times compared to settings with closed windows.


Air pollution Personal exposure Mobile monitoring Transport modes Spatial analysis Short-lived climate pollutant 



xThe authors are grateful to the volunteers for their availability and cooperation, and to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments that contributed to improve the quality of this paper.

Funding information

The National Council for Scientific and Technological Development of Brazil (CNPq) supported this research with a stipend for the first author, instrumentation, and consumables (grants numbers 404146/2013-9 and 400273/2014-4). Editorial services for this work were provided with funds from PROPPG/Federal University of Technology.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Program in Environmental EngineeringFederal University of TechnologyLondrinaBrazil

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