Exposure to air pollutants among cyclists: A comparison of different cycling routes in Perth, Western Australia
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Cycling is often promoted as a means of reducing vehicular congestion, greenhouse gases, noise and air pollutant emissions in urban areas. It is also endorsed as a healthy means of transportation in terms of reducing the risk of developing a range of physical and psychological conditions. However, people might not be aware of the negative health impacts of cycling near heavy traffic. This study aimed to compare personal exposure with particulate air pollution among cyclists commuting in Perth, Western Australia. The study involved 122 number of cyclists riding bicycles in four different routes: two routes within community areas (Route 1 and Route 2) and two routes near freeways (Route 3 and Route 4). The participants were males and females aged between 20 and 55 years with the selection criteria including non-smokers who cycle at least 150 km/week—ideally along one of the four study routes. Personal exposure of respirable particulate air pollution during cycling at the high and low level of exertions (self-perceived) were assessed. Ambient concentrations of selected air pollutants were also measured at each cycling route. We found that Route 3 appeared to be the most polluted route and concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide exceeded the Australian standards. This study concluded that personal exposure to respirable particles was influenced by the speed, time of cycling and seasonal variation.
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