Does Particulate Matter concern me?

Characterisation of ambient and indoor particulate matter samples and determination of sources for “oxidative stress release”

“Particulate Matter” is a parameter routinely measured within the framework of ambient air monitoring, whereas repeated violations of the limit value set by legislation were observed in the last years. Short term changes of this situation are not expected, as the allowed number of violations of the limit value per year decrease, while the particulate matter burden can not be reduced to the same amount. Increased particulate air pollution has attested adverse short-term and long-term effects to human health. The sources of fine particulate matter are diverse; according to the influence of the different emitters the chemical composition of the dust samples is quite variable. The determination of trace substances and the application of statistical models is used for source apportionment. A possibility to specify the impact to human health is the identification of the oxidative properties of the dust sample.

In this project particulate matter samples will be investigated to determine their oxidative characteristics, and hence their impact on human health. As the sources of these ambient air samples chosen are already apportioned, correlations between the relevance to human health and the sources responsible will be revealed. The connection of the origin of particulate matter and a parameter which provides information about the toxicity of the dust collected is of high relevance and has not been drawn so far.

The investigations will be conducted especially with ambient air particulate matter samples (monitoring stations in Vienna and other regions in Austria – urban, urban fringe, regional and background stations). Besides, as the involved students are located indoor most of the day, samples will also be collected inside the school. The “personal exposure” of the young persons will be measured with a portable particulate matter sampling device. The students will maintain the stationary and the mobile instruments and will also be involved in the determination of the chemical composition of the samples. With the data collected, comparisons between the particulate matter burdens at different sites are drawn and demonstrated.

This project has been completed.