Living Lab Experience in Turin: Lifestyles and Exposure to Black Carbon

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Mar 24;19(7):3866. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19073866.


State-of-the-art, continuous personal monitoring is a reference point for assessing exposure to air pollution. European air-quality standards for particulate matter (PM) use mass concentration of PM (PM with aerodynamic diameters ≤ 10 μm (PM10) or ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5)) as the metric. It would be desirable to determine whether black carbon (BC) can be used as a better, newer indicator than PM10 and PM2.5. This article discusses the preliminary results of one of the three living laboratories developed in the project "Combination of traditional air quality indicators with an additional traffic proxy: Black Carbon (BC)". The Living Lab#1 (LL#1) involved 15 users in the city of Turin, Italy. Three portable aethalometers (AE51) were used to detect personal equivalent black carbon (eBC) concentrations in the respiratory area of volunteers at 10-s intervals as they went about their normal daily activities. The Geo-Tracker App and a longitudinal temporal activity diary were used to track users' movements. The sampling campaign was performed in November for one week. and each user was investigated for 24 h. A total of 8640 eBC measurements were obtained with an average daily personal exposure of 3.1 µg/m3 (±SD 1.3). The change in movement patterns and the variability of microenvironments were decisive determinants of exposure. Preliminary results highlight the potential utility of Living Labs to promote innovative approaches to design an urban-scale air-quality management plan which also includes BC as a new indicator.

Keywords: air pollution; black carbon; living laboratory; microenvironments; personal exposure; time-activity pattern.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • Carbon
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Life Style
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Soot


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Soot
  • Carbon