Mobile air quality studies (MAQS) in inner cities: particulate matter PM10 levels related to different vehicle driving modes and integration of data into a geographical information program
1 The Institute of Occupational Medicine, Social Medicine and Environmental Medicine, Faculty and University School of Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany
2 The Institute of Occupational Medicine, Charité –Berlin, Medical School of the Free University Berlin and the Humboldt-University Berlin, Berlin, Germany
3 Clinical Research Division of Allergy, Otto-Heubner-Centre, Charité –Berlin, Medical School of the Free University Berlin and the Humboldt-University Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology 2012, 7:20 doi:10.1186/1745-6673-7-20Published: 2 October 2012
Particulate matter (PM) is assumed to exert a major burden on public health. Most studies that address levels of PM use stationary measure systems. By contrast, only few studies measure PM concentrations under mobile conditions to analyze individual exposure situations.
By combining spatial-temporal analysis with a novel vehicle-mounted sensor system, the present Mobile Air Quality Study (MAQS) aimed to analyse effects of different driving conditions in a convertible vehicle. PM10 was continuously monitored in a convertible car, driven with roof open, roof closed, but windows open, or windows closed.
PM10 values inside the car were nearly always higher with open roof than with roof and windows closed, whereas no difference was seen with open or closed windows. During the day PM10 values varied with high values before noon, and occasional high median values or standard deviation values due to individual factors. Vehicle speed in itself did not influence the mean value of PM10; however, at traffic speed (10 – 50 km/h) the standard deviation was large. No systematic difference was seen between PM10 values in stationary and mobile cars, nor was any PM10 difference observed between driving within or outside an environmental (low emission) zone.
The present study has shown the feasibility of mobile PM analysis in vehicles. Individual exposure of the occupants varies depending on factors like time of day as well as ventilation of the car; other specific factors are clearly identifiably and may relate to specific PM10 sources. This system may be used to monitor individual exposure ranges and provide recommendations for preventive measurements. Although differences in PM10 levels were found under certain ventilation conditions, these differences are likely not of concern for the safety and health of passengers.