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Modeling of personal exposures to ambient air toxics in Camden, New Jersey: an evaluation study.

Abstract

This study presents the Individual Based Exposure Modeling (IBEM) application of MENTOR (Modeling ENvironment for TOtal Risk studies) in a hot spot area, where there are concentrated local sources on the scale of tens to hundreds of meters, and an urban reference area in Camden, NJ, to characterize the ambient concentrations and personal exposures to benzene and toluene from local ambient sources. The emission-based ambient concentrations in the two neighborhoods were first estimated through atmospheric dispersion modeling. Subsequently, the calculated and measured ambient concentrations of benzene and toluene were separately combined with the time-activity diaries completed by the subjects as inputs to MENTOR/IBEM for estimating personal exposures resulting from ambient sources. The modeling results were then compared with the actual personal measurements collected from over 100 individuals in the field study to identify the gaps in modeling personal exposures in a hot spot. The modeled ambient concentrations of benzene and toluene were generally in agreement with the neighborhood measurements within a factor of 2, but were underestimated at the high-end percentiles. The major local contributors to the benzene ambient levels are from mobile sources, whereas mobile and stationary (point and area) sources contribute to the toluene ambient levels in the study area. This finding can be used as guidance for developing better air toxic emission inventories for characterizing, through modeling, the ambient concentrations of air toxics in the study area. The estimated percentage contributions of personal exposures from ambient sources were generally higher in the hot spot area than the urban reference area in Camden, NJ, for benzene and toluene. This finding demonstrates the hot spot characteristics of stronger local ambient source impacts on personal exposures. Non-ambient sources were also found as significant contributors to personal exposures to benzene and toluene for the population studied.

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