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      Particulate air pollution from bushfires: human exposure and possible health effects.

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          Abstract

          Toxicological studies have implicated trace metals adsorbed onto airborne particles as possible contributors to respiratory and/or cardiovascular inflammation. In particular, the water-soluble metal content is considered to be a harmful component of airborne particulate matter. In this work, the trace metal characteristics of airborne particulate matter, PM2.5, collected in Singapore from February to March 2005 were investigated with specific reference to their bioavailability. PM2.5 mass concentrations varied between 20.9 mug/m3 and 46.3 microg/m3 with an average mass of 32.8 microg/m3. During the sampling period, there were several bushfires in Singapore that contributed to sporadic increases in the particulate air pollution, accompanied by an acrid smell and asthma-related allergies. The aerosol samples were subjected to analysis of trace elements for determining their total concentrations as well as their water soluble fractions. Our results showed an increase in concentration of several water-soluble trace metals during bushfires compared to their urban background levels in Singapore. In order to measure the human exposure to particulate air pollution, the daily respiratory uptake (DRU) of several trace metals was calculated and compared between haze and nonhaze periods. The DRU values were significantly higher for several metals, including Zn, Cu, and Fe, during bushfires. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) measurements showed that the particulate samples collected during bush fires generate more toxic hydroxyl radicals (OH.) than those in the background air, due to the presence of more soluble iron ions.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Toxicol Environ Health A
          Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part A
          Informa UK Limited
          1528-7394
          0098-4108
          Nov 2006
          : 69
          : 21
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
          Article
          M32M38120325Q026
          10.1080/15287390600751264
          16982529
          85a482af-5126-402c-8780-f7c438173d89

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