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Table 1 Overview of reported levels of occupational exposures of PAH, BC, and particles in airports. Mean levels are presented if reported. For detailed data, see references

From: A review of health effects associated with exposure to jet engine emissions in and around airports

Description Reported mean levels
Ambient air
Reported mean levels
Personal monitors
 Total mean PAH concentrations in integrated air samples at an airbase on different locations and in different flight-related and ground-support activities 601.1 ng/m3 (hangar background)
1025.4 ng/m3 (hangar taxiing)
2802.7 ng/m3 (engine test)
6795.3 ng/m3 (engine running on/off)
9811.1 ng/m3 (diesel-fueled aerospace ground equipment)
During flight-related exercises, PAH concentrations were 10–15 times higher than in ambient air
NA Childers et al. (2000) [83]
 PAH compounds of highest levels measured for 24 h in three different locations 130–13,050 ng/m3 (naphthalene)
64–28,500 ng/m3 (2-methylnaphthalene)
24–35,300 ng/m3 (1-methylnaphtalene)
24–1610 ng/m3 (biphenyl)
54.2 ng/ m3 (fluoranthene)
8.6 ng/m3 (benzo[a]pyrene)
NA Iavicoli et al. (2006) [84]
 Total mean of 23 PAH (vapor and particle-bound) measured during 24 h of 5 work days at the airport apron, airport building and terminal/office area 27.703 μg/m3 (apron)
17.275 μg/m3 (airport building)
9.494 μg/m3 (terminal departure area)
Highest levels in the airport apron particularly for 1 and 2-methylnaphthalene and acenaphthene
NA Cavallo et al. (2006) [52]
 Total mean particle-bound PAH measured in the vicinity of LAX to assess the spread of airport emissions in up – and downwind ambient air to the immediate neighborhood 18.2 ng/m3 (upwind from the airport)
24.6 ng/m3 (downwind from the airport)
50.1 ng/m3 (at the taxiway)
60.1 ng/m3 (terminal region)
Particle-bound PAH mean levels measured on two freeways were 47.0 ng/m3 and 169.4 ng/m3
NA Westerdahl et al. (2008) [34]
Black carbon
 Mean black carbon concentrations measured at different micro-environments of airports and in commercial flights 3.78 μg/m3 (during boarding/disembarking)
3.16 μg/m3 (airport concourse)
2.78 μg/m3 (inside aircraft with open doors)
0.81 μg/m3 (inside aircraft on the ground with closed doors)
NA Targino et al. (2017) [41]
 BC levels measured in the vicinity of LAX to assess the spread of airport emissions in up – and downwind ambient air to the immediate neighborhood 0.3 μg/cm3 (upwind from the airport)
0.7 μg/cm3 (downwind from the airport)
1.8 μg/cm3 (at the taxiway)
3.8 μg/cm3 (terminal region)
NA Westerdahl et al. (2008) [34]
 Contributions of airport activities to measured BC levels at Amsterdam Schiphol were measured for 32 sampling days over 6 months Mean BC: 0.6 mg/m3 NA Pirhadi et al. (2020) [85]
 UFP and size distributions measured in the vicinity of LAX to assess the spread of airport emissions in up – and downwind ambient air to the immediate neighborhood Average UFP counts of 5 × 104 particles/cm3 (500 m downwind of the airport), which were significantly influenced by aircraft operations where peaks were observed
Maximum UFP measured was 4.8 × 106 particles/m3 downwind from a jet aircraft taking off
Particle size:
90 nm (upwind from airport)
10–15 nm (downwind from airport)
NA Westerdahl et al. (2008) [34]
 Total mean concentration of 10 daily UFP samples with personal monitors placed with crew chief and hangar operator 6.5 × 103 particles/cm3 (downwind site) 2.5 × 104 particles/cm3 (crew chief)
1.7 × 104 particles/cm3 (hangar operator)
Median number concentrations for 2 months measurement period
Buonanno et al. (2012) [86]
 Geometric means of personal exposure to particle number concentration carried out in five different occupational groups NA 37 × 103 UFP/cm3 (baggage handlers)
5 × 103 UFP/cm3 (landside security)
12–20 × 103 UFP/cm3 (catering drivers, cleaning staff and airside security)
Møller et al. (2014) [87]
 Particle and metal exposure in ambient air and in airport workers using exhaled breath condensates 1.0 × 104–2.1 × 107 particles/cm3 (apron workers)
103–104 (office staff)
Airport workers were exposed to significantly smaller particles (mean geometric size: 17.7 nm) compared to office workers (mean geometric size: 23.7 nm).
Particulate content was found in exhaled breath condensates, but no difference was found between the two study groups Marie-Desvergne et al. (2016) [88]
 Number concentrations and size distributions inside the cabin of an aircraft waiting for take-off compared to outdoor 10–40 × 103 particles/cm3
A 40 min wait 100 m downwind of the runway was calculated to be equal to 4 h exposure in a clean urban background environment away from the airport
NA Ren et al. (2018)a [89]
 Potential exposure to passengers and indoor airport staff investigated by PM2.5 concentrations in the terminal building at three seasons Arrival hall:
337 μg/m3 (Winter)
105 μg/m3 (Spring)
167 μg/m3 (Summer)
Departure hall:
385 μg/m3 (Winter)
130 μg/m3 (Spring)
170 μg/m3 (Summer)
Ambient airport air:
400 μg/m3 (Winter)
156 μg/m3 (Spring)
216 μg/m3 (Summer)
1.9–5.9 times higher particles number concentrations in the terminal buildings than measured in a normal urban environment
Total UFP exposure during an entire average waiting period (including in the terminal building and airliner cabin) of a passenger was estimated to be equivalent to 11 h of exposure to normal urban emissions
NA Ren et al. (2018)b [90]
 UFP monitoring at several sampling sites in the vicinity of Lisbon Airport for 19 non-consecutive days Downwind average particle number concentration range:
3.3 × 104 cm3 to 5.9 × 104 particles per cm3
Measured range of peaks: 2.3 × 105 particles per cm3 to 3.4 × 105 particles per cm3
NA Lopes et al. (2019) [91]
 Maximal measurements at a commercial airport and exposure assessment at a non-commercial airfield 106 -108 particles/cm3 (main combustion events of plane leaving and arriving)
1086 μg/m3 (single peak event of plane leaving)
10.7% was predicted to deposit in the alveolar lung regions
Personal exposure levels were similar to air concentrations Bendtsen et al. (2019) [36]
 Maximal UFP number concentration of UFP exposures investigated for 33 male employees working in an airport taxiway 9.59 × 106 (during support tasks in taxiing and taking off of the aircraft) 2.44 × 103 particles/cm3
Median UFP number concentration
Marcias et al. (2019) [92]
 Contributions of airport activities to measured particle number concentrations (PNCs) at Amsterdam Schiphol were measured for 32 sampling days over 6 months Mean total PNC: 35,308 particles/cm3
Aircraft departures and aircraft arrivals contributed to 46.1 and 26.7% of PNC, respectively. Ground support equipment and local road traffic accounted for 6.5% of PNC and were characterized by diameters of 60–80 nm. Traffic from surrounding freeways was characterized by particles of 30–40 nm and contributed to 18% of PNC
Mean PM2.5: 7.4 mg/m3
Particle size range: 10–20 nm
NA Pirhadi et al. (2020) [85]