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Open AccessArticle

Characteristics of PM2.5 and Black Carbon Exposure Among Subway Workers

Department of Occupational Health, Daegu Catholic University, Gyeongsan 38430, Korea
Department of Statistics, Dongguk University, Seoul 04620, Korea
Department of Environmental Health, Korea National Open University, Seoul 03087, Korea
Institute of Occupation and Environment, Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service, Incheon 21417, Korea
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
Force Health Protection & Preventive Medicine, MEDDAC-Korea, US Army, Seoul post 04386, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2901;
Received: 10 July 2019 / Revised: 6 August 2019 / Accepted: 10 August 2019 / Published: 13 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Occupational Safety and Health)
PDF [2506 KB, uploaded 14 August 2019]


This study aimed to assess the characteristics of exposure to both PM2.5 and black carbon (BC) among subway workers. A total of 61 subway workers, including 26, 23, and 12 subway station managers, maintenance engineers, and train drivers, respectively, were investigated in 2018. Real-time measurements of airborne PM2.5 and BC were simultaneously conducted around the breathing zones of workers. Maintenance engineers had the highest average levels of exposure to both PM2.5 and BC (PM2.5, 76 µg/m3; BC, 9.3 µg/m3), followed by train drivers (63.2 µg/m3, 5.9 µg/m3) and subway station managers (39.7 µg/m3, 2.2 µg/m3). In terms of the relationship between mass concentrations of PM2.5 and BC, train drivers demonstrated the strongest correlation (R = 0.72), indicating that the proportion of BC contained in PM2.5 is relatively steady. The average proportion of BC in PM2.5 among maintenance engineers (13.0%) was higher than that among train drivers (9.4%) and subway station managers (6.4%). Univariate and mixed effect multiple analyses demonstrated the type of task and worksite to be significant factors affecting exposure levels in maintenance engineers and subway station managers. The use of diesel engine motorcars in tunnel maintenance was found to be a key contributor to PM2.5 and BC exposure levels among subway workers. View Full-Text
Keywords: black carbon; PM2.5; subway; diesel engine motorcar black carbon; PM2.5; subway; diesel engine motorcar

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Choi, S.; Park, J.-H.; Kim, S.-Y.; Kwak, H.; Kim, D.; Lee, K.-H.; Park, D.-U. Characteristics of PM2.5 and Black Carbon Exposure Among Subway Workers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2901.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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