The exposure of cyclists, car drivers and pedestrians to traffic-related air pollutants

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1995;67(3):187-93. doi: 10.1007/BF00626351.


Volunteers provided with personal air sampling (PAS) equipment covered concurrently, by car or bicycle, various selected routes. These comprised two inner city routes in Amsterdam (ICR 1 and 2) as well as a route including a tunnel on a busy highway (TR) and a rural route just south of Amsterdam (RR). A third inner city route, a busy narrow street, was subsequently also selected, and covered by bicycle or walking (ICR 3). Each run lasted about 1 h; the sampling time on the TR route was approximately 30 min. The sampling periods in January and May lasted 2 weeks with four sampling days per week. In August only ICR 3 was covered, this sampling period lasted 2 days. CO, NO2, benzene, toluene and xylenes were measured in the personal air samples. A monitoring vehicle covered the routes concurrently and measured CO, NO2 and pm10 (semi) continuously. Lead and PAH content in pm10 was determined. The ventilation of the volunteers was measured while they were using a car or a bicycle. The route and the type of transport influenced (P < 0.001) the concentrations of CO, benzene, toluene and xylenes. The daily average temperature was positively associated with the exposure of car drivers and cyclists to most compounds measured. A volunteer exhaled on average 2.3 times more air as a cyclist than as a car driver. Despite the much higher concentrations in the personal air samples of car drivers, the uptake of CO, benzene, toluene and xylenes of cyclists sometimes approached that of the car drivers. The uptake of NO2 of cyclists was clearly higher than that of car drivers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Bicycling*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Polycyclic Compounds / analysis
  • Respiration / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis*
  • Weather


  • Air Pollutants
  • Polycyclic Compounds
  • Vehicle Emissions