Evaluation of Aldehydes, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and PM2.5 Levels in Food Trucks: A Pilot Study

Academic Article


  • Background: The food truck industry has rapidly expanded in the United States and kitchen environments can contain harmful contaminants from cooking emissions. The objective of this study was to examine the levels of aldehydes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and Particulate Matter (PM)2.5 generated from cooking process in food trucks. Methods: Area sampling was performed twice at two participating food trucks during work shifts. Nine aldehydes and eighteeen PAHs were analyzed according to the relevant standard methods while PM2.5 was measured with a real time monitor. Ventilation performance of the food truck exhaust hoods was also investigated using a thermal anemometer. Findings: Formaldehyde was the only aldehyde detected in all samples with a concentration range of 7.16 to 53.68 µg/m3. No PAHs were detected above the limit of quantification. Average PM2.5 concentrations ranged from 0.65 to 7.03 mg/m3. Food Trucks 1 and 2 have an average exhaust flow rate of 211 and 215 L/s per linear meter of hood, respectively. Conclusions/Application to practice: Overall, Food Truck 2 had consistently higher levels of aldehydes and PM2.5 with comparable ventilation performance as Food Truck 1. The higher exposure levels of Food Truck 2 could possibly be attributed to a larger volume of food orders and the heavy duty cooking equipment with an exhaust flow rate below the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommendations. Although more investigations need to be performed, the findings could be used to raise awareness of food truck workers and health practitioners to reduce potential exposure risks.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Phillips H; Oh J
  • Start Page

  • 443
  • End Page

  • 451
  • Volume

  • 68
  • Issue

  • 9