A study of human exposure to indoor air pollutants in home, office, school, shopping mall and restaurant in Hong Kong

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A study of human exposure to indoor air pollutants in home, office, school, shopping mall and restaurant in Hong Kong


Author: Li, Wai-ming
Title: A study of human exposure to indoor air pollutants in home, office, school, shopping mall and restaurant in Hong Kong
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2001
Subject: Indoor air pollution -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Civil and Structural Engineering
Pages: xi, 151, [2], 32 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1600735
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/46
Abstract: Indoor air quality (IAQ) has increasingly become an issue of public concern in Hong Kong. Recognizing that many potential health risks and problems are related to indoor air pollution, the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is striving to establish indoor air quality objectives to manage IAQ in typical indoor premises. These premises include offices and public buildings. Undoubtedly, good air quality protects our health and contributes to comfort, and enhances the enjoyment of an indoor environment. Unfortunately, there are still limited data available on the general understanding of current IAQ of different types of indoor environments. This study attempts to characterize the current IAQ of selected Hong Kong indoor environments such as homes, offices, schools, shopping malls and restaurants, and evaluate the average lifetime risks associated with exposure to indoor air pollutants for specific groups in the Hong Kong population. Average CO2 levels and total bacteria counts measured in occupied air-conditioned classrooms, shopping malls and restaurants were comparatively higher than those measured in occupied offices and homes. Findings indicate that elevated CO2 levels and total bacteria counts resulted from high occupancy combined with inadequate ventilation. Average levels of PM10 were usually higher indoors than outdoors in homes, shopping malls and restaurants. The highest indoor concentrations of PM10 were observed at investigated restaurants due to presence of more active smokers and extensive uses of gas stoves for cooking. The average indoor airborne bacteria levels in occupied classrooms and shopping malls were about two to four times, respectively, higher than those measured in the commercial offices. The restaurants and shopping malls investigated had higher formaldehyde levels than other indoor environments when potential sources such as formaldehyde-related building material, smoking and internal renovation work were noted. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) measured in both indoor and outdoor environments caused by vehicle exhaust emissions. It was observed that interior decoration work and the use of industrial solvents in an indoor environment could significantly increase the indoor levels of VOCs. The average indoor fungi concentrations were found to range from 91 to 1000 cfu/m3 in domestic living rooms, office working areas, canteen and restaurant dining areas and air-conditioned classrooms. The estimated lifetime risks for office workers were lower than that of food service workers. It was found that benzene accounted for at least 40% of the total lifetime cancer risks for each category of the target groups including office workers, food service workers, pupils and housewives.

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