Inhalation cancer risk from PM10 in the metropolitan subway stations in Korea

Debananda Roy, Yong Chil Seo, Hyeong Gyu Namgung, Soon Bark Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Although subways have many advantages as a transport system, passengers may be exposed to indoor air pollution. In such cases, the dominant risk factors are associated with particulate matter (PM) bound metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In this study, inhalation cancer risks (ICR) were assessed at Seoul metro subway stations (SMS), South Korea, in 2014–2015. Methods: The mass fractions of PAHs and metals in PM10 were calculated from the previous studies. The PM10 exposure and mass deposition in various sections of the human respiratory tract (HRT) was calculated using mass deposition technique. In addition, ICR via exposure of PM10 in HRT and incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) were estimated for the teen and adult groups of commuters at SMS. Moreover, ICR levels have been compared with incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) levels for SMS commuters. Results: The PM10 pollution levels at SMS were found within the acceptable range for the subway platforms in Korean (150 μg/m3). In addition, the maximum amounts of total deposition (TD) and head deposition (HD) in HRT were estimated for the adult group. Hence, tracheobronchial (TB) and alveoli (A) depositions were calculated height for the teen. For the adult and teen groups, ICR(TD) level found significant (>1 × 10−6) for Cr and PAHs. But, among both age groups, significant values of total ICR(TBD + AD) were estimated for the teen (1.40 × 10−06). In addition, the ICR(TD) and ILCR have estimated the same order of inhalation cancer risk for both groups. Conclusion: In the SMS, cancer risk levels were estimated in the acceptable range (1 × 10−06 - 1 × 10−05) of life carcinogenic risk for the commuters, provided by the World Health Organization (WHO). Furthermore, Cr and Ni were identified as significant contributors to inhalation cancer risks with 58% and 39% of total risk level, respectively for teen and adult.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100580
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Transportation
  • Pollution
  • Safety Research
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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