In-cabin air quality during driving and engine idling in air-conditioned private vehicles in Hong Kong

Natasha Maria Barnes, Tszwai Ng, Kwok Keung Ma, Ka Man LAI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many people spend lengthy periods each day in enclosed vehicles in Hong Kong. However, comparably limited data is available about in-cabin air quality in air-conditioned private vehicles, and the car usage that may affect the air quality. Fifty-one vehicles were tested for particulate matter (PM0.3 and PM2.5), total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), airborne bacteria, and fungi levels during their routine travel journey. Ten of these vehicles were further examined for PM0.3, PM2.5, TVOCs, CO, and CO2 during engine idling. In general, during driving PM2.5 levels in-cabin reduced overtime, but not PM0.3. For TVOCs, 24% vehicles exceeded the recommended Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) level in offices and public places set by the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department. The total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) concentration positively correlated with the age of the vehicle. Carbon monoxide (CO) levels in all of the vehicles were lower than the IAQ recommendation, while 96% vehicles exceeded the recommended CO2 level of 1000 ppmv; 16% vehicles >5000 ppmv. Microbial counts were relatively low. TVOCs levels at idle engine were higher than that during driving. Although the time we spend in vehicles is short, the potential exposure to high levels of pollutants should not be overlooked.

Original languageEnglish
Article number611
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Air-conditioned vehicles
  • Idle engine
  • In-cabin air quality
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

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