The passive sampler assisted human exposure risk characterization for tetrachloroethene soil vapor intrusion scenario

Pil Gon Kim, Abhrajyoti Tarafdar, Keum Young Lee, Jung Hwan Kwon, Yongseok Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The potential human health risks associated with soil vapor intrusion and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) exposure were characterized at an industrialized site by the quantification of gaseous VOCs in soil pores using a passive sampling technique. The gaseous tetrachloroethene (PCE) in soil pores varied between 12 and 5,400 μg m−3 showing 3 orders of magnitude variation with dependence on groundwater PCE concentrations. Though the PCE concentration in the air only varied between 0.45 and 1.5 μg m−3 showing negligible variations compared to the variation observed in soil pores. The PCE concentration in the air varied between 0.45 and 1.5 μg m−3. The calculation of fugacity suggested that the PCE in the test site originated from groundwater. Measured PCE in groundwater ranged from 14 to 2,400 times higher than PCE in soil gas. This indicates that conducting a vapor intrusion risk assessment using passive soil gas sampling is critical for accurate risk characterization and assessment. Estimated PCE inhalation cancer risks for street cleaners and indoor residents varied between 10−6 and 10−4 with a low plausible hazard, and between 10−3 and 10−2 with a high risk, respectively. The results of this study demonstrate that passive sampling offers a significantly lower cost and labor-intensive approach compared to traditional methods for assessing pollution distribution in contaminated sites and characterizing risks. This highlights the potential for wider application of passive sampling techniques in environmental studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117238
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Fugacity
  • Passive sampling
  • Risk characterization
  • Vapor intrusion
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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