Exposure to volatile organic compounds for individuals with occupations associated with potential exposure to motor vehicle exhaust and/or gasoline vapor emissions

Sci Total Environ. 2001 Mar 26;269(1-3):25-37. doi: 10.1016/s0048-9697(00)00774-9.


Workers who work near volatile organic compounds (VOCs) source(s), motor vehicle exhausts and/or gasoline vapor emissions, are suspected to be exposed to highly-elevated VOC levels during their work-time. This study confirmed this suspicion and evaluated the work-time exposure VOCs for traffic police officers, parking garage attendants, service station attendants, roadside storekeepers and underground storekeepers, by measuring the concentrations of six aromatic VOCs in workplace air, or personal air and breath samples. For nearly all target VOCs, the post-work breath concentrations of the workers were slightly or significantly higher than the pre-work breath concentrations, depending on the compound and occupation. Furthermore, both the pre- and post-work breath concentrations of the workers showed elevated levels compared with a control group of college students. The post-work breath concentrations were significantly correlated with the personal air concentrations, while the pre-work breath concentrations were not. Smoking workers were not always exposed to higher aromatic VOC levels than non-smoking workers. The breath and personal air concentrations for all the target compounds were both higher for underground parking garage attendants than for ground-level parking attendants. For all the target compounds except toluene, storekeepers exhibited similar levels of exposure for all store types. Print shopkeepers recorded the highest toluene exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breath Tests
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Gasoline*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons / analysis
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Male
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis*
  • Volatilization


  • Gasoline
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Vehicle Emissions