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Assessment of the BTEX concentrations and health risk in urban nursery schools in Gliwice, Poland

Department of Air Protection, Silesian University of Technology, 22B Konarskiego St., 44-100 Gliwice, Poland

Special Issues: Indoor pollutants and implication for human exposure

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in nursery school is believed to be different from elementary school. Moreover, younger children are more vulnerable to air pollution than higher grade children because they spend more time indoors, and their immune systems and bodies are less mature. The purpose of this study was to compare the concentrations of the monoaromatic volatile benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene m,p-xylene and o-xylene (BTEX) in urban nursery schools located in Gliwice, Poland. The nursery schools were chosen to include areas with different urbanization and traffic density characteristics in order to gather a more diverse picture of exposure risks in the various regions of the city. BTEX were sampled during winter and spring seasons in older and younger children classrooms. The samples were thermally desorbed (TD) and then analyzed with use of gas chromatography (GC). In addition, outdoor measurements were carried out in the playground at each nursery school. BTEX quantification, indoor/outdoor concentration, and correlation coefficients were used to identify pollutant sources. Elevated levels of o-xylene and ethylbenzene were found in all monitored classrooms during the winter season. Outdoor concentrations were lower than indoors for each classroom. Indicators based on health risk assessment for chronic health effects associated with carcinogenic benzene or non-carcinogenic BTEX were proposed to rank sites according to their hazard level.
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Keywords children; indoor environment; risk assessment; VOC; BTEX

Citation: Anna Mainka, Barbara Kozielska. Assessment of the BTEX concentrations and health risk in urban nursery schools in Gliwice, Poland. AIMS Environmental Science, 2016, 3(4): 858-870. doi: 10.3934/environsci.2016.4.858

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