Cyclist Exposure to Black Carbon, Ultrafine Particles and Heavy Metals: An Experimental Study Along Two Commuting Routes Near Antwerp, Belgium

Urban environments typically exhibit large atmospheric pollution variation, in both space and time. In contrast to traditional monitoring networks suffering from a limited spatial coverage, mobile platforms enable personalized high-resolution monitoring, providing valuable insights into personal atmospheric pollution exposure, and the identification of potential pollution hotspots. This study evaluated personal cyclist exposure to UFPs, BC and heavy metals whilst commuting near Antwerp, Belgium, by performing mobile measurements with wearable black carbon (BC) and ultrafine particle (UFP) instruments. Loaded micro-aethalometer filterstrips were chemically analyzed and the inhaled pollutant dose determined from the exhibited heart rate. Considerable spatial pollutant variation was observed along the travelled routes, with distinct contributions from spatial factors (e.g. traffic intersections, urban park and market) and temporary events. On average 300% higher BC, 20% higher UFP and changing elemental concentrations are observed along the road traffic route (RT), when compared to the bicycle highway route (BH). Although the overall background pollution determines a large portion of the experienced personal exposure (in this case 53% for BC and 40% for UFP), cyclists can influence their personal atmospheric pollution exposure, by selecting less exposed commuting routes. The results, hereby, strengthen the body of evidence in favor of further policy investments in isolated bicycle infrastructure.


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  • Accession Number: 01723049
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 20 2019 9:42AM