Research Study Abstract

Assessment of personal exposure to particulate air pollution: the first result of City Health Outlook (CHO) project

  • Published on June 7, 2019

To mitigate air pollution-related health risks and target interventions towards the populations bearing the greatest risks, the City Health Outlook (CHO) project aims to establish multi-scale, long-lasting, real-time urban environment and health monitoring networks. A major goal of CHO is to collect data of personal exposure to particulate air pollution through a full profile that consists of a matrix of activities and micro-environments. As the first paper of a series, this paper is targeted at illustrating the characteristics of the participants and examining the effects of different covariates on personal exposure at various air pollution exposure levels.

In the first campaign, volunteers are recruited to wear portable environmental sensors to record their real-time personal air pollution exposure and routes. After a web-based social media recruitment strategy, 50 eligible subjects joined the first campaign in Beijing from January 8 to January 20, 2018. The mean personal exposures were measured at 19.36, 37.65, and 43.45 μg/m3 for particulate matter (PM) with a diameter less than 1, 2.5, and 10 μm, respectively, albeit with the high spatial-temporal variations.

Unequal distribution of exposures was observed in the subjects with different sociodemographic status, travel behavior, living and health conditions. Quantile regression analysis reveals that subjects who are younger, less educated, exposed to passive smoking, low to middle household income, overweight, without ventilation system at home or office, and do not possess private vehicles, are more susceptible to PM pollution. The differences, however, are generally insignificant at low exposure levels and become evident on bad air quality days.

The heterogeneity in personal exposure found in this the first CHO campaign highlighted the importance of studying the pollution exposure at the individual scale. It is at the critical stage to bridge the knowledge gap of environmental inequality in different populations, which can lead to great health implications.


  • Lu Liang 1
  • Peng Gong 2,3
  • Na Cong 2,3
  • Zhichao Li 2,3
  • Yu Zhao 2,3
  • Ying Chen 2,3


  • 1

    Department of Geography and the Environment, University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle, Denton, TX, 76203, USA

  • 2

    Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China

  • 3

    Center for Healthy Cities, Institute for China Sustainable Urbanization, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China


BMC Public Health

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