Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a bakery indoor air: trends, dynamics, and dispersion.
Pierina Ielpo, Maria Rosaria Taurino, Riccardo Buccolieri, Claudia Marcella Placentino, Francesco Gallone, Valeria Ancona, Silvana Di Sabatino.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2018


Indoor air pollution assessment in work environments remains challenging due to a combination of logistic reasons and availability of costly instrumentation for data acquisition and post-processing. Existing literature focuses on energy production environments, hospitals, and less so on food production spaces. Studies on indoor air quality in bakeries are scarce or even absent. Motivated by this, the present study investigates indoor air quality in a bakery located in Bari province in South Italy, using a combination of approaches including analytical chemistry analyses and computational fluid dynamics to reconstruct the air ventilation in response to air temperature gradients within the working environment. PM2.5 indoor samplings were collected every 6 h from 7 to 19 April 2013 in the proximity of two bakery ovens powered by gas and wood, respectively. For each sampling day, 4 PM2.5 samples were collected: from 3:00 to 9:00 h (first), from 9:00 to 13:30 h (second), from 14:00 to 21:00 h (third), and from 21:00 to 3:00 h (fourth). In total, 40 samples were collected. On each sample, several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined such as benzo[a]anthracene (228), benzo[b]fluoranthene (252), benzo[k]fluoranthene (252), benzo[a]pyrene (252), benzo[g,h,i]perylene (276), indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene (276), and dibenzo[a,h]anthracene (278), the main compounds of 16 priority US Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) PAHs in particulate phase. The PAH mean concentrations showed higher values during the first (from 3:00 to 9:00 h) and fourth (from 21:00 to 3:00 h) sampling intervals than the other two with benzo[a]pyrene mean values exceeding the Italian law limit of 1 ng/m3. Taking into account benzo[a]pyrene mean concentration for the first interval and the first plus the second one, which are the hours with the largest working activity, we have estimated that the baker and co-workers are exposed to a cancer risk of 4.3 × 10−7 and 5.8 × 10−7, respectively (these values are lower than US-EPA recommended guideline of 10−6). Our study was complemented by numerical analyses using state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics to reconstruct at high resolution air movement from the various working places, i.e., the bakery and the selling area which were connected via a door. The numerical simulations were possible given that surface temperature using infrared thermography as well as air temperature was continuously recorded throughout the sampling acquisition. The use of this approach allowed us to estimate the transport and diffusion of benzo[a]pyrene from one area to the other thus complementing the point sampling information. Computational fluid dynamic simulation results confirm the presence of benzo[a]pyrene in the laboratory as obtained from the measurements and suggests its presence in the sales’ area of the bakery with concentrations similar those found in the laboratory.

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