Improved Source Apportionment and Speciation of Low-Volume Particulate Matter Samples

EPA Grant Number: R834677C153
Subproject: this is subproject number 153 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R834677
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Health Effects Institute (2010 — 2015)
Center Director: Greenbaum, Daniel S.
Title: Improved Source Apportionment and Speciation of Low-Volume Particulate Matter Samples
Investigators: Schauer, James J.
Institution: University of Wisconsin – Madison , Health Effects Institute (HEI)
EPA Project Officer: Hunt, Sherri
Project Period: April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2015
RFA: Health Effects Institute (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Air


As particulate air pollution has increasingly been associated with adverse human health effects, interest has been growing in studying the chemical composition of inhalable particulate matter (PM) and how exposures to its specific constituents are associated with health effects. Much of the general characterization of the composition of PM has been performed on specimens collected by high-volume samplers. Personal sampling, although it improves exposure estimation, makes use of small-scale equipment that traditionally could not collect a sufficient volume of airborne PM for proper speciation analysis. Dr. James J. Schauer and his team will develop methods for the detection and quantification of a wide range of trace metals, nonpolar, and polar organic species in low-volume PM samples.


The investigators will develop multiple chemical analysis methods for the measurement of concentrations of organic compounds, trace metals, trace-element isotopes, and oxidation states of selected elements in samples of PM ≤ 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) collected using personal sampling equipment and to analyze existing personal exposure samples from various epidemiologic studies.

Dr. Schauer and colleagues will develop a number of variations on gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis as well as wet-chemical methods for more economical spectrophotometric analysis of selected metals (iron [Fe], manganese [Mn], and chromium [Cr]) and quantification of the relative proportions of their oxidative states. The investigators will apply rigorous clean-chemistry concepts to their methods development in order to address the three pillars of quantitative trace-element analysis, namely the control and minimization of back-ground values using blanks; the maximization of sensitivity; and the control, isolation, and removal of interferences.

Expected Results:

This research will examine methods with the high sensitivity and low limits of detection needed to analyze a wide range of chemical species in particulate matter collected with personal samplers. Dr. Schauer and colleagues will develop sensitive methods to detect trace metals, nonpolar organic compounds, and polar organic compounds in personal samples collected in exposure studies. The methods researched by these investigators in this study will be useful to researchers seeking to gain greater insight into the relationships between the components of inhalable particulates and their health effects.

Supplemental Keywords:

Health Effects, Air Toxics,  epidemiology, carcinogens, exposure models, inhalation exposure, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis, source apportionment analysis

Relevant Websites: Exit


Main Center Abstract and Reports:

R834677    Health Effects Institute (2010 — 2015)

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R834677C149 Development and Application of a Sensitive Method to Determine Concentrations of Acrolein and Other Carbonyls in Ambient Air
R834677C150 Mutagenicity of Stereochemical Configurations of 1,3-Butadiene Epoxy Metabolites in Human Cells
R834677C151 Biologic Effects of Inhaled Diesel Exhaust in Young and Old Mice: A Pilot Project
R834677C152 Evaluating Heterogeneity in Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution Using Land-Use Regression and Constrained Factor Analysis
R834677C153 Improved Source Apportionment and Speciation of Low-Volume Particulate Matter Samples
R834677C155 The Impact of the Congestion Charging Scheme on Air Quality in London
R834677C156 Concentrations of Air Toxics in Motor Vehicle-Dominated Environments
R834677C158 Air Toxics Exposure from Vehicle Emissions at a U.S. Border Crossing: Buffalo Peace Bridge Study
R834677C159 Role of Neprilysin in Airway Inflammation Induced by Diesel Exhaust Emissions
R834677C160 Personal and Ambient Exposures to Air Toxics in Camden, New Jersey
R834677C162 Assessing the Impact of a Wood Stove Replacement Program on Air Quality and Children’s Health
R834677C163 The London Low Emission Zone Baseline Study
R834677C165 Effects of Controlled Exposure to Diesel Exhaust in Allergic Asthmatic Individuals
R834677C168 Evaluating the Effects of Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments on Air Quality
R834677C172 Potential Air Toxics Hot Spots in Truck Terminals and Cabs
R834677C173 Detection and Characterization of Nanoparticles from Motor Vehicles
R834677C174 Cardiorespiratory Biomarker Responses in Healthy Young Adults to Drastic Air Quality Changes Surrounding the 2008 Beijing Olympics