Saf Health Work.  2019 Sep;10(3):377-383. 10.1016/j.shaw.2019.06.005.

Exposure to Particles and Nitrogen Dioxide Among Workers in the Stockholm Underground Train System

Affiliations
  • 1Unit of Occupational Medicine, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. nils.plato@ki.se
  • 2Centre for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Stockholm County Council, Sweden.
  • 3The Swedish Work Environment Authority, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 4Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

Abstract


OBJECTIVES
Exposure to fine particles in urban air has been associated with a number of negative health effects. High levels of fine particles have been detected at underground stations in big cities. We investigated the exposure conditions in four occupational groups in the Stockholm underground train system to identify high-exposed groups and study variations in exposure.
METHODS
PM₁ and PM(2.5) were measured during three full work shifts on 44 underground workers. Fluctuations in exposure were monitored by a real-time particle monitoring instrument, pDR, DataRAM. Qualitative analysis of particle content was performed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Nitrogen dioxide was measured using passive monitors.
RESULTS
For all underground workers, the geometric mean (GM) of PM₁ was 18 μg/m³ and of PM(2.5) was 37 μg/m³. The particle exposure was highest for cleaners/platform workers, and the GM of PM₁ was 31.6 μg/m³ [geometric standard deviation (GSD), 1.6] and of PM(2.5) was 76.5 μg/m³ (GSD, 1.3); the particle exposure was lowest for ticket sellers, and the GM of PM₁  was 4.9 μg/m³ (GSD, 2.1) and of PM(2.5) was 9.3 μg/m³ (GSD, 1.5). The PM₁ and PM(2.5) levels were five times higher in the underground system than at the street level, and the particles in the underground had high iron content. The train driver's nitrogen dioxide exposure level was 64.1 μg/m³ (GSD, 1.5).
CONCLUSIONS
Cleaners and other platform workers were statistically significantly more exposed to particles than train drivers or ticket sellers. Particle concentrations (PM(2.5)) in the Stockholm underground system were within the same range as in the New York underground system but were much lower than in several older underground systems around the world.

Keyword

Airborne exposure; Occupation; Particle exposure; Subway

MeSH Terms

Humans
Iron
Mass Spectrometry
Nitrogen Dioxide*
Nitrogen*
Occupational Groups
Occupations
Plasma
Railroads
Iron
Nitrogen
Nitrogen Dioxide
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