Determinants of personal exposure to ozone in school children. Results from a panel study in Greece

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In the wider framework of the RESPOZE (ReSPiratory effects of OZone Exposure in Greek children) panel study, we investigated possible determinants of O3 exposure of school children, measured with personal passive samplers, in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece.


Personal exposure to O3 was measured for five weeks spread along the academic year 2013-14, in 186 school children in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece. At the same time, at-school outdoor measurements were performed and ambient levels of 8-h daily maximum O3 from fixed sites were collected. We also collected information on lifestyle and housing characteristics through an extended general questionnaire (GQ) and each participant completed daily time activity diaries (TADs) during the study period.


Mean outdoor concentrations were higher during the warmer months, in the suburbs of the cities and in Athens. Personal exposure concentrations were significantly lower compared to outdoor. Daily levels of at-school outdoor and ambient levels of O3 from fixed sites were significant determinants of personal exposure to O3. For a 10 μg/m3 increase in at-school outdoor O3 concentrations and PM10 measurements a 20.9% (95% CI: 13%, 28%) increase in personal exposure to O3 was found. For a half an hour more spent in transportation an average increase of 7% (95% CI: 0.3%, 14.6%) in personal exposure to O3 was observed. Among other possible determinants, time spent in transportation (TAD variable) and duration of open windows were the ones associated with personal O3 exposure levels.


Our results support the use of outdoor and ambient measurements from fixed sites in epidemiological studies as a proxy of personal exposure to O3, but this has to be calibrated taking into account personal measurements and time-activity patterns.

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