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Human exposure to air pollution is highly variable, reflecting the strong spatial and temporal variability of air pollutant concentrations in urban environments. A wide variety of outdoor and indoor sources contribute to acute and chronic exposures to respirable particles, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Ambient air quality measurements and dispersion model simulations are commonly used to estimate population exposure to air pollutants in cities. In addition, time-activity micro-environmental and other dynamic time-space models can be used to characterise the personal exposure of individuals or population subgroups. People in developed countries typically spend 90% of their time indoors, and impact of indoor sources, such as tobacco smoking, gas cooking, construction and furnishing materials, and household chemicals (e.g. paints, adhesives, cleaning products, etc.), on personal exposure can become dominant. Recent exposure surveys have shown that personal exposure is typically higher than both indoor and outdoor concentrations of traffic-related pollutants such as benzene. In most cases, this is due to peak personal exposures occurring within transient (e.g. commuting) and other highly polluted micro-environments (e.g. petrol stations, garages, etc.). In developing countries, domestic fuel combustion (e.g. biomass burning for cooking and heating) has been identified as a major factor contributing to elevated exposure of the population to respirable particles, carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.

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