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Physicochemical Characterization of Airborne Particulate Matter at a Mainline Underground Railway Station

Physicochemical Characterization of Airborne Particulate Matter at a Mainline Underground Railway Station
Physicochemical Characterization of Airborne Particulate Matter at a Mainline Underground Railway Station
Underground railway stations are known to have elevated particulate matter (PM) loads compared to ambient air. As these particles are derived from metal-rich sources and transition metals may pose a risk to health by virtue of their ability to catalyze generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), their potential enrichment in underground environments is a source of concern. Compared to coarse (PM10) and fine (PM2.5) particulate fractions of underground railway airborne PM, little is known about the chemistry of the ultrafine (PM0.1) fraction that may contribute significantly to particulate number and surface area concentrations. This study uses inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and ion chromatography to compare the elemental composition of size-fractionated underground PM with woodstove, roadwear generator, and road tunnel PM. Underground PM is notably rich in Fe, accounting for greater than 40% by mass of each fraction, and several other transition metals (Cu, Cr, Mn, and Zn) compared to PM from other sources. Importantly, ultrafine underground PM shows similar metal-rich concentrations as the coarse and fine fractions. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that a component of the coarse fraction of underground PM has a morphology indicative of generation by abrasion, absent for fine and ultrafine particulates, which may be derived from high-temperature processes. Furthermore, underground PM generated ROS in a concentration- and size-dependent manner. This study suggests that the potential health effects of exposure to the ultrafine fraction of underground PM warrant further investigation as a consequence of its greater surface area/volume ratio and high metal content.
0013-936X
3614-3622
Loxham, Matthew
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Cooper, Matthew
54f7bff0-1f8c-4835-8358-71eef8529e7a
Gerlofs-Nijland, Miriam E.
f83a934c-5ca3-492d-9d62-b77adf045924
Cassee, Flemming R.
9ec4238b-6a04-4e9c-9680-d0394168faa4
Davies, Donna
7de8fdc7-3640-4e3a-aa91-d0e03f990c38
Palmer, Martin
d2e60e81-5d6e-4ddb-a243-602537286080
Teagle, Damon
396539c5-acbe-4dfa-bb9b-94af878fe286
Loxham, Matthew
8ef02171-9040-4c1d-8452-2ca34c56facb
Cooper, Matthew
54f7bff0-1f8c-4835-8358-71eef8529e7a
Gerlofs-Nijland, Miriam E.
f83a934c-5ca3-492d-9d62-b77adf045924
Cassee, Flemming R.
9ec4238b-6a04-4e9c-9680-d0394168faa4
Davies, Donna
7de8fdc7-3640-4e3a-aa91-d0e03f990c38
Palmer, Martin
d2e60e81-5d6e-4ddb-a243-602537286080
Teagle, Damon
396539c5-acbe-4dfa-bb9b-94af878fe286

Loxham, Matthew, Cooper, Matthew, Gerlofs-Nijland, Miriam E., Cassee, Flemming R., Davies, Donna, Palmer, Martin and Teagle, Damon (2013) Physicochemical Characterization of Airborne Particulate Matter at a Mainline Underground Railway Station. Environmental Science & Technology, 47 (8), 3614-3622. (doi:10.1021/es304481m). (PMID:23477491)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Underground railway stations are known to have elevated particulate matter (PM) loads compared to ambient air. As these particles are derived from metal-rich sources and transition metals may pose a risk to health by virtue of their ability to catalyze generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), their potential enrichment in underground environments is a source of concern. Compared to coarse (PM10) and fine (PM2.5) particulate fractions of underground railway airborne PM, little is known about the chemistry of the ultrafine (PM0.1) fraction that may contribute significantly to particulate number and surface area concentrations. This study uses inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and ion chromatography to compare the elemental composition of size-fractionated underground PM with woodstove, roadwear generator, and road tunnel PM. Underground PM is notably rich in Fe, accounting for greater than 40% by mass of each fraction, and several other transition metals (Cu, Cr, Mn, and Zn) compared to PM from other sources. Importantly, ultrafine underground PM shows similar metal-rich concentrations as the coarse and fine fractions. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that a component of the coarse fraction of underground PM has a morphology indicative of generation by abrasion, absent for fine and ultrafine particulates, which may be derived from high-temperature processes. Furthermore, underground PM generated ROS in a concentration- and size-dependent manner. This study suggests that the potential health effects of exposure to the ultrafine fraction of underground PM warrant further investigation as a consequence of its greater surface area/volume ratio and high metal content.

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Published date: 11 March 2013
Organisations: Geochemistry, Ocean and Earth Science, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 353284
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/353284
ISSN: 0013-936X
PURE UUID: 148a6923-eb10-46c9-847d-6311d155c205
ORCID for Matthew Loxham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6459-538X
ORCID for Matthew Cooper: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2130-2759
ORCID for Donna Davies: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5117-2991
ORCID for Damon Teagle: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4416-8409

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Date deposited: 04 Jun 2013 13:43
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 08:09

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