Approved Abstracts

Levels of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants in gyms during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions



Author(s): Peixoto C; Slezakova K; Pereira MC; Morais S;
Presenter: Cátia Peixoto

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends minimum of 150 min of moderate-intensity of aerobic physical activity per week for adults. To stay healthy, people attend gyms and health clubs. However, if indoor air quality in these microenvironments is poor, professionals and users of these spaces may be subject to some health risks. In Portugal, during the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic, sports facilities and gyms were closed. After the lockdown, in order to prevent the spread of infections, these spaces were subjected to specific sanitary recommendations, in terms of ventilation and occupancy rate. This work aimed to assess the levels of air pollutants, PM10, PM2.5, total volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) in two gyms in the period after the lockdown (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Sampling was carried out for 23 days, in the spring of 2021, in two gyms located in shopping centers in the Metropolitan Area of Oporto, Portugal. Various microenvironments were continuously monitored in each gym, the cardio-fitness area, bodybuilding, and studios for group activities. The mean PM10 results in gym1 were 43 µg/m3 (median: 40µg/m3) when non-occupied and about 1.3 times higher when occupied, 55µg/m3 (median: 58µg/m3). In gym2, when non-occupied, the average PM10 was 25µg/m3, rising to 50µg/m3 (approximately twice as much) when with users. The obtained data demonstrate that occupancy has an impact on indoor PM10 levels. The mean detected concentrations of PM2.5 were of the same order of magnitude for both gymnasiums, when closed and with occupancy. During the sampling period, with the new implemented rules regarding ventilation and control of the occupancy rate, it was found that there were still temporal exceedances in PM10 and PM2.5. The PM10 concentrations exceeded the limit set in Portuguese legislation (50µg/m3). The highest concentrations of PM were mainly due to the performed physical activities, emissions from equipment and resuspension of particulate matter. For gaseous pollutants, in gym1, VOCs averages of 4.7mg/m3 (median: 2.7mg/m3) and 4.2mg/m3 (median: 2.9mg/m3) were obtained when closed and occupied, respectively; in gym2, averages of 2.9mg/m3 (median: 2.1mg/m3) and 3.1mg/m3 (median: 2.4mg/m3) were obtained while closed and occupied, respectively. The VOCs levels were always higher than the established in the Portuguese legislation (0.6mg/m3), which are similar to the results obtained in previous studies, and not being directly influenced by the restrictions imposed. The reached CO2 data are below the protection threshold set in the Portuguese legislation (2250mg/m3) in both gyms; when non-occupied, mean values of 953mg/m3 and 1006mg/m3 were recorded in gym1 and gym2, respectively. During the occupation period, the average CO2 values were of the same order of magnitude, being 1243mg/m3 in gym1 and 1600 mg/m3 in gym2. Compared with previous studies, CO2 values decreased when specific sanitary restrictions were in force. This decrease is probably due to the guidelines imposed for human occupation, which limit the number of occupants according to the surface area. The CO records were always below the legislated limit (10mg/m3), as in previous studies, which indicated that CO, as expected, was not a concern in the characterized microenvironments. This pollutant was monitored, because wasn't knowledge of the effects of the restrictions imposed in its levels. This work received financial support by UIDB/50006/2020 and UIDP/50006/2020 of the Associated Laboratory for Green Chemistry - Clean Technologies and Processes, and by UIDB/00511/2020 of the Laboratory for Process Engineering, Environment, Biotechnology and Energy – LEPABE. Further funding was provided through the project PCIF/SSO/0017/2018 by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior (MCTES) through national funds. C. Peixoto would like to acknowledge FCT for her fellowship SFRH/BD/147185/2019.

Keywords: Air pollutants; Particulate matter ; Gaseous pollutants

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