Intake fraction of primary pollutants: Motor vehicle emissions in the South Coast Air Basin

Julian D. Marshall, William J. Riley, Thomas E. McKone, William W. Nazaroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The intake fraction is defined for a specific species and emission source as the ratio of attributable population intake to total emissions. Focusing on California's South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB) as a case study, we combine ambient monitoring data with time-activity patterns to estimate the population intake of carbon monoxide and benzene emitted from motor vehicles during 1996-1999. In addition to exposures to ambient concentrations, three microenvironments are considered in which the exposure concentration of motor vehicle emissions is higher than in ambient air: in and near vehicles, inside a building that is near a freeway, and inside a residence with an attached garage. Incorporating data on motor vehicle emissions estimated by the EMFAC2000 model, we estimate that the 15 million people in the SoCAB inhale 0.003-0.009% (34-85 per million, with a best estimate of 47 per million) of primary, nonreactive compounds emitted into the basin by motor vehicles. This population intake of primary motor vehicle emissions is approximately 50% higher than the average ambient concentration times the average breathing rate, owing to higher concentrations in the three microenvironments and also to the temporal and spatial correlation among breathing rates, concentrations, and population densities. The approach demonstrated here can inform policy decisions requiring a metric of population exposure to airborne pollutants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3455-3468
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number24
StatePublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, by the US EPA National Exposure Research Laboratory through Interagency Agreement No. DW-988-38190-01-0, and by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory through the US Department of Energy under Contract Grant No. DE-AC03-76SF00098. The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on the manuscript.


  • Benzene
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Exposure assessment
  • Microenvironment


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