Cabbies top list of professional drivers for exposure to harmful particulates
A research body at Kings College Hospital has found that compared to other professional drivers, taxi drivers are exposed to the highest level of black carbon pollution.
Despite the health risks of diesel engine exhaust, minimal research had been undertaken to quantify the exposures of professional drivers.
To address this, researchers examined personal black carbon (BC) exposures of professional drivers in London under a range of occupational settings, vehicle types and driving conditions.
GPS-linked black carbon sensors were provided to 130 drivers, including taxi drivers, couriers, heavy freight, waste removal and emergency services, for 96 hours, with measurements every minute.
Drivers also had to complete a questionnaire, detailing their ventilation preferences, vehicle type and their number of working hours per day.
The results from the statistics collated showed that the black carbon levels which professional drivers were exposed to were around 33% greater than would be ordinarily be experienced at the roadside.
Taxi drivers encountered the greatest exposure to black carbon and had the highest average exposure with 6.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
The research also revealed that during work, drivers experienced high spikes in exposure, often exceeding 100 µg/m3.
Researchers concluded that simple measures, such as closing vehicle windows can significantly reduce exposures.
Black carbon is a sooty substance which is emitted from petrol and Diesel engines.
The research was presented to the European Respiratory Society International Congress on Sunday, 29 September.
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