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Exposure of Paris taxi drivers to automobile air pollutants within their vehicles

Abstract

OBJECTIVES To study the exposure of Parisian taxi drivers to automobile air pollutants during their professional activity.

METHODS A cross sectional study was carried out from 27 January to 27 March 1997, with measurements performed in the vehicles of 29 randomly selected drivers. Carbon monoxide (CO) content was measured over an 8 hour period by a CO portable monitor. The fine suspended particles were measured according to the black smoke index (BS), with a flow controlled portable pump provided with a cellulose filter. The nitrogen oxides, NO and NO2 were measured with a passive sampler.

RESULTS These drivers are exposed during their professional activity to relatively high concentrations of pollutants (mean, median (SD) 3.8, 2 (1.7) ppm for CO, 168, 164 (53) μg/m3 for BS, 625, 598 (224) μg/m3 for NO, and 139, 131 (43) μg/m3 for NO2.) For CO the concentrations were clearly lower than the threshold values recommended by the World Health Organisation. The situation is less satisfactory for the other pollutants, especially for the BS index. All concentrations of pollutants recorded were noticeably higher than concentrations in air recorded by the ambient Parisian air monitoring network and were close to, or slightly exceeded, the concentrations measured at the fixed stations close to automobile traffic. Pollutant concentrations were also influenced greatly by weather conditions.

CONCLUSION This first French study conducted in taxi drivers shows that they are highly exposed to automobile pollutants. The results would justify a medical follow up of this occupational group.

  • taxi drivers
  • exposure assessment
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