All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Claudiu T Lungu

Advisory Committee Members

Julia Gohlke

Karen Heaton

Gerald Davis

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2015

Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) School of Public Health

Abstract

The nature of long haul truck driving places workers in this occupation in a peculiar setting for chronic exposure to diesel exhaust which is a known carcinogenic. These drivers endure exposure to diesel exhaust in traffic and potentially greater exposure at truck stops where they park for rest breaks as mandated by DOT regulations. This study looked at the potential exposure to diesel exhaust in long haul truck drivers resting at truck stops where up to two hundred trucks are left idling for air conditioning and other reasons. Two different trucks were used consecutively over the 21 days of sampling. Descriptive statistics and relevant comparisons for elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon (OC), total carbon (TC) and particulate matter (PM2.5) were determined. Area sampling was conducted inside and outside of the truck cabs. Exposure levels for EC, (the surrogate for diesel exhaust) were found to be way below the MSHA PEL of 160µg/m3 and the ACGIH suggested limit of 20µg/m3. Diesel particulate concentration was significantly higher inside than outside of the truck cab (geometric mean = 4.4 µg/m3, 2.0 µg/m3 respectively), p = 0.007. PM2.5 concentration inside the truck was 30% higher than it was outside. There was no clear association between diesel particulate concentration inside and outside of the truck (r = 0.4, p = 0.081). Meteorological parameters seem not to influence diesel particulate concentration and PM2.5 inside the truck. It was concluded that diesel exhaust pollution in the truck stop environment is not the prime source of the driver’s exposure to diesel particulates inside the truck. Self-pollution by the truck appears to contribute a greater proportion of the diesel particulate concentration inside of the truck.

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