Volatile organic compounds generated in asphalt pavement construction and their health effects on workers

Dan Chong, Yuhong Wang, Hai Guo, Yujie Lu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Hot mix asphalt (HMA) is a major construction material used for building roads, airport runways, and parking lots. During HMA construction, a massive amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is emitted from the hot asphalt mixtures, creating a potential health risk to on-site workers. Few studies have quantitatively investigated the constituents and potential health effects of the VOCs generated in HMA pavement construction. This paper presents the results of a study in which air samples were collected at multiple locations and time points of several projects during HMA pavement construction and were subsequently characterized for their chemical compositions and concentrations by using gas chromatography/mass selective detector (GC/MSD). The analysis results are compared with occupational exposure limits mandated or recommended by various agencies. Although the individual concentrations of the identified chemicals were found to be below various exposure limits, their collective effect on human health remains unknown and may not be ignored. This paper contributes to the knowledge of the types and concentrations of VOCs generated in asphalt pavement construction, their potential health risks to workers, and possible mitigation measures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number04013051
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • Asphalt pavement construction
  • Construction materials and methods
  • Construction occupational environment
  • Health hazards
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management

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