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Personal particulate matter exposures and locations of students in four neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana


Air pollution exposure and places where the exposures occur may differ in cities in the developing world compared with high-income countries. Our aim was to measure personal fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure of students in neighborhoods of varying socioeconomic status in Accra, Ghana, and to quantify the main predictors of exposure. We measured 24-hour PM2.5 exposure of 56 students from eight schools in four neighborhoods. PM2.5 was measured both gravimetrically and continuously, with time-matched global positioning system coordinates. We collected data on determinants of exposure, such as distances of homes and schools from main roads and fuel used for cooking at their home or in the area of residence/school. The association of PM2.5 exposure with sources was estimated using linear mixed-effects models. Personal PM2.5 exposures ranged from less than 10 μg/m3 to more than 150 μg/m3 (mean 56 μg/m3). Girls had higher exposure than boys (67 vs 44 μg/m3; P-value=0.001). Exposure was inversely associated with distance of home or school to main roads, but the associations were not statistically significant in the multivariate model. Use of biomass fuels in the area where the school was located was also associated with higher exposure, as was household’s own biomass use. Paved schoolyard surface was associated with lower exposure. School locations in relation to major roads, materials of school ground surfaces, and biomass use in the area around schools may be important determinants of air pollution exposure.

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ME is supported by a UK MRC Strategic Award.

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Correspondence to Majid Ezzati.

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Arku, R., Dionisio, K., Hughes, A. et al. Personal particulate matter exposures and locations of students in four neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 25, 557–566 (2015).

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  • Africa
  • air pollution
  • adolescent health
  • exposure
  • traffic pollution

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