OBJECTIVES: To assess the distribution of personal exposures to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in school children, and to investigate factors that might influence personal exposure. METHODS: NO2 exposures were assessed by use of passive diffusion tubes for 46 children aged 9-11 years, selected from two Southampton schools. The tubes were worn for seven days, and parallel measurements were made with static samplers in the child's kitchen, living room, classroom, and playground. Information about potential exposures was collected by questionnaire. RESULTS: Personal exposures to NO2, averaged over seven days, ranged from 11 to 257 micrograms/m3 (6 to 137 ppb) with a geometric mean of 36 micrograms/m3 (19 ppb). Exposures correlated with concentrations of NO2 recorded in the home, but the relation was far from exact. Factors associated with increased personal exposure included the use of gas appliances in the home, living with one or more smokers, and travel to school by means other than a car. However, together these variables only explained a small part of the variation in personal exposures. CONCLUSIONS: These findings reinforce the need for personal monitoring of exposure in studies investigating potential health effects of NO2 in children.
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