The relationship between personal exposure and ambient PM2.5 and black carbon in Beijing

Chun Lin, Dayu Hu, Xu Jia, Jiahui Chen, Furong Deng, Xinbiao Guo, Mathew R. Heal, Hilary Cowie, Paul Wilkinson, Mark R. Miller, Miranda Loh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study is part of the “Air Polluion Impacts on Cardiopulmonary disease in Beijing: an integrated study of Exposure Science, Toxicologenomics & Environmental Epidemiology (APIC-ESTEE)” project under the UK-China joint research programme “Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health in a Chinese Megacity (APHH-China)”. The aim is to capture the spatio-temporal variability in people's exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC) air pollution in Beijing, China. A total of 120 students were recruited for a panel study from ten universities in Haidian District in northwestern Beijing from December 2017 to June 2018. Real-time personal concentrations of PM2.5 and BC were measured over a 24-h period with two research-grade portable personal exposure monitors. Personal microenvironments (MEs) were determined by applying an algorithm to the handheld GPS unit data. On average, the participants spent the most time indoors (79% in Residence and 16% in Workplace), and much less time travelling by Walking, Cycling, Bus and Metro. Similar patterns were observed across participant gender and body-mass index classifications. The participants were exposed to 33.8 ± 27.8 μg m−3 PM2.5 and to 1.9 ± 1.2 μg m−3 BC over the 24-h monitoring period, on average 24.3 μg m−3 (42%) and 0.8 μg m−3 (28%) lower, respectively, than the concurrent fixed-site ambient measurements. Relative differences between personal and ambient BC concentrations showed greater variability across the MEs, highlighting significant contributions from Dining and travelling by Bus, which involve potential combustion of fuels. This study demonstrates the potential value of personal exposure monitoring in investigating air pollution related health effects, and in evaluating the effectiveness of pollution control and intervention measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number139801
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Beijing
  • Black carbon
  • PM
  • Personal exposure
  • Personal monitoring
  • Portable monitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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