Characteristics and health effects of volatile organic compound emissions during paper and cardboard recycling

Ramin Nabizadeh, Armin Sorooshian, Mahdieh Delikhoon, Abbas Norouzian Baghani, Somayeh Golbaz, Mina Aghaei, Abdullah Barkhordari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Urbanization generates increased amounts of solid wastes in cities and as a consequence leads to high air pollution levels. As a result of these trends, the subject of air quality management for sustainable concept of cities has received increasing attention. This work characterized volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and health effects at different processing stages in a recycling facility for waste paper and cardboard. The highest total VOC levels were observed in the conveyor belt line one (5.23 ± 0.33 mg/m3), followed by a baling machine (1.38 ± 0.07 mg/m3), conveyor belt line two (1.34 ± 0.08 mg/m3), tipping floor line one (1.22 ± 0.07 mg/m3), and manual separation line one (1.20 ± 0.06 mg/m3). Hence, exposure to VOCs lead to high health risks in this PCSWRF, especially at the manual separation stage (HQ = 2.7–3 and lifetime cancer risks (LTCRs) = 1.11 × 10−4 - 1.03 × 10−4), and strategies such as adjustment of the factory to enclose the conveyors, designing proper ventilation and air conditioning systems, minimization of VOC-contaminated waste generation (pre-treatment), and using personal protective equipment should be considered to eliminate pollutants and to protect workers from the non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102005
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic
  • Exposure indices
  • Paper and cardboard recycling
  • Pollution characteristics
  • Sustainable
  • VOCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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