Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2014

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Thorne, Peter S

First Committee Member

Hornbuckle, Keri C

Second Committee Member

Schnoor, Jerald L


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of 209 persistent organic pollutants, whose documented carcinogenic, neurological and respiratory toxicities are expansive and growing. Existing inhalation estimates demonstrate ubiquitous exposure to World Health Organization (WHO) indicator PCBs and limited other PCB congeners in North America and Europe. However, inhalation exposure estimates of most lower-chlorinated congeners are lacking, and continuing release of PCBs from urban areas demands location-specific assessments of PCB exposure in ambient air and contaminated environments. Using paired indoor and outdoor airborne PCB measurements and activity questionnaires from the AESOP Study, we assess congener-specific exposure rates for adolescent children and their mothers in East Chicago, Indiana and Columbus Junction, Iowa. Our cohorts of 129 (EC) and 135 (CJ) and our detection of 202 individual congeners and coelutions allows unprecedented quantification of congener-specific inhalation exposure, which we compare to dietary exposure using Total Diet Survey PCB concentrations. ∑PCB inhalation is greater for children than for their mothers in both locations, and is greater for East Chicago mothers and children than for Columbus Junction mothers and children, respectively. Schools attended by AESOP Study children have higher indoor PCB concentrations than do homes, and contribute to more than half of children's inhalation PCB exposure. Inhalation of the potentially neurotoxic congeners PCB 11, 40/41/71, and 51 was apparent among individuals at each location. Additional, congener-specific and biological inferences are possible via comparison with sera-based PCB concentrations for these cohorts.


Congener-Specific, Dietary Exposure, Indoor Air Concentrations, Inhalation Exposure, (PCB) Polychlorinate Biphenyl, Schools


viii, 121 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 30-34).


Copyright 2014 Matthew D. Ampleman