Building occupants exposure to and intake of PAHs in developing countries

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, August 2018, Volume 1, #19

There is always a constant supply of electricity in developed countries. This is the expectation. This expectation influences how buildings are maintained and operated. It also influences how ventilation and indoor environmental quality standards are defined. Additionally, scientific studies in the literature always assumed a constant supply of electricity. However, a constant supply of electricity does not exist in several developing countries. In fact, building occupants in such countries could go without electricity for several months.

The use of kerosene lamp is a popular source of light in these developing countries when there is no electricity supply because of its affordability. The downside is that kerosene lamp is a source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) with organ damage and cancer implications. Building occupants’ vulnerability increases with an increase in their duration of exposure and intake of PAHs when electricity is not supplied for several months. The concentration of PAHs building occupants is exposed to will increase when there is little or no ventilation because doors and windows are closed. The high crime rate in such countries forces building occupants to close their doors and windows at night when they go to bed.

Policy makers will benefit from research efforts providing data on the risk of exposure and extent of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – SVOCs – in building occupants in that part of the world.

Electricity_IAC 19

Do you want to know more about the impact of PAHs? Read Kim et al. (2013) and Lao et al. (2018) papers.

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