Sangjun Choi1, Ju-Hyun Park2, Won Kim3, Seung Won Kim4, Kyong-Hui Lee5, Taejin Chung6, Jihoon Park7, Seung-Hun Ryu8, Jungah Shin9, Dong-Hee Koh10, Dong-Uk Park This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.11 

1 Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seocho-gu, Seoul 06591, Korea
2 Department of Statistics, Dongguk University, Jung-gu, Seoul 04620, Korea
3 Wonjin Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health, Jungnang-gu, Seoul 02221, Korea
4 Department of Public Health, Keimyung University, Dalseo-gu, Daegu 42601, Korea
5 Force Health Protection & Preventive Medicine, MEDDAC-Korea, Unit #15281, US Army, APO AP 96271, USA
6 Department of EHS Consulting, EHS Friends Co., Ltd., Bucheon-si, Gyeonggi-do 14446, Korea
7 Accident Response Coordination Division, National Institute of Chemical Safety, Ministry of Environment, Heungdeok-gu, Cheongju 28164, Korea
8 Humidifier Disinfectant Health Center, National Institute of Environmental Research, Seogu, Incheon 22689, Korea
9 Institute of Occupation and Environment, Korea Workers' Compensation and Welfare Service, Bupyeong-gu, Incheon 21417, Korea
10 Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, International St. Mary’s Hospital, Catholic Kwandong University, Seo-gu, Incheon 22711, Korea
11 Department of Environmental Health, Korea National Open University, Jongro-gu, Seoul 03087, Korea

Received: December 30, 2020
Revised: May 5, 2021
Accepted: May 12, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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Cite this article:

Choi, S., Park, J.H., Kim, W., Kim, S.W., Lee, K.H., Chung, T., Park, J., Ryu, S.H., Shin, J., Koh, D.H., Park, D.U. (2021). Black Carbon Exposure Characteristics in Diesel Engine Vehicle-related Jobs. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200675.


  • Black carbon exposure levels are different by job, task, and diesel vehicle type.
  • The proximity to diesel exhaust sources is the key factor to elevated BC exposure.
  • The indoor use of vehicles is also major factor to lead to elevated BC exposure.
  • Diesel particulate filter is effective tool for reducing black carbon exposure.


We aimed to characterize the black carbon (BC) exposure from eight types of jobs involving diesel engine vehicles—namely, machinery operation, forklift operation, automobile assembly, garbage collection, garbage truck driving, delivery, toll operation, and crane operation—across seven industries. The workers chosen for this study (N = 106) measured their exposure every minute using an AE51 microAethalometer affixed to a microcyclone and also recorded their time-activity patterns and whereabouts in detail during working hours. We then categorized and analyzed 71,987 of these 1-min observations based on four potential exposure determinants: the operation of a diesel engine vehicle (yes or no), proximity to the source of BC (near or far), location of the workplace (indoor or outdoor), and type of work (moving or stationary). Among the participants, the geometric mean (GM) exposure was highest for forklift operators in indoor environments (9.5 µg m–3), followed by toll operators (GM = 7.4 µg m–3), machinery operators (GM = 7.4 µg m–3), and garbage collectors (GM = 5.5 µg m–3). After accounting for the random effects of the individual workers and working dates (evaluated per occupation) as well as the fixed effects of the determinants and their pairwise interaction terms (p < 0.001), we found that all four of the determinants significantly differed in their associated levels of BC exposure. In particular, working near instead of far from diesel engine equipment doubled the average level of exposure. Additionally, upon investigating different combinations of the determinants, we identified proximity to diesel exhaust sources and indoor working conditions as the main factors of BC exposure. Thus, installing diesel particulate filters on diesel engine vehicles effectively reduces exposure. Our findings potentially contribute to the development of a model that predicts the level of exposure for various types of jobs.

Keywords: Black carbon, Determinant, Diesel engine exhaust emissions, Diesel particulate filter

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