Evaluating the risk of mixtures in the indoor air of primary school classrooms

Mishra, Nitika, Ayoko, Godwin, Salthammer, Tunga, & Morawska, Lidia (2015) Evaluating the risk of mixtures in the indoor air of primary school classrooms. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 22(19), pp. 15080-15088.

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In school environments, children are constantly exposed to mixtures of airborne substances, derived from a variety of sources, both in the classroom and in the school surroundings. It is important to evaluate the hazardous properties of these mixtures, in order to conduct risk assessments of their impact on chil¬dren’s health. Within this context, through the application of a Maximum Cumulative Ratio approach, this study aimed to explore whether health risks due to indoor air mixtures are driven by a single substance or are due to cumulative exposure to various substances. This methodology requires knowledge of the concentration of substances in the air mixture, together with a health related weighting factor (i.e. reference concentration or lowest concentration of interest), which is necessary to calculate the Hazard Index. Maximum cumulative ratio and Hazard Index values were then used to categorise the mixtures into four groups, based on their hazard potential and therefore, appropriate risk management strategies. Air samples were collected from classrooms in 25 primary schools in Brisbane, Australia. Analysis was conducted based on the measured concentration of these substances in about 300 air samples. The results showed that in 92% of the schools, indoor air mixtures belonged to the ‘low concern’ group and therefore, they did not require any further assessment. In the remaining schools, toxicity was mainly governed by a single substance, with a very small number of schools having a multiple substance mix which required a combined risk assessment. The proposed approach enables the identification of such schools and thus, aides in the efficient health risk management of pollution emissions and air quality in the school environment.

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1 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 91270
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: indoor air mixtures, risk assessment, Maximum Cumulative Ratio, Hazard Index, low concern group
DOI: 10.1007/s11356-015-4619-z
ISSN: 1614-7499
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Aerosols (040101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified (090799)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Springer
Deposited On: 16 Dec 2015 03:12
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2015 07:16

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