The carbon composition of fine particles (PM2.5) from traffic exhausts may play a role in adverse health effects. The objective of this study was to assess the concentrations of elemental and organic carbon in PM2.5 in traffic exhausts from different types of vehicles in the booths of Taiwanese toll station workers and estimate the relations between traffic density and carbon concentrations. Tollbooth indoor monitoring samples were collected for 10 days to assess the 8 h integrated PM2.5 concentration. Particle samples were analyzed for the content of total carbon, and elemental, and organic carbon. The mean carbon concentrations in the bus and truck lanes were [total: 167.7 μg/m3 (SD 79.8 μg/m3); elemental: 131.7 (66.2); organic: 36.0 (25.8)], substantially higher compared with the car lanes with cash payment [39.2 (29.5); 20.2 (19.5); 19.2 (14.6)] and the car lanes with ticket payment [34.1 (26.1); 15.8 (17.6); 18.5 (12.2)]. The increase in elemental carbon concentration per vehicle in the bus and truck lane was 14 and 9 times greater than that of car lanes of ticket payment and car lanes of cash payment. The mass fraction of carbonaceous species in PM2.5 accounted for 54% in bus and truck lanes, whereas the corresponding figure was 30-31% for car lanes. Elemental carbon is an important component of diesel exhaust. Workers in toll stations are exposed to high levels of both elemental and organic carbon.
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