2000 Progress Report: Health Risks of Particulate Matter Components: Center Service Core

EPA Grant Number: R827351C009
Subproject: this is subproject number 009 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R827351
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: EPA NYU PM Center: Health Risks of PM Components
Center Director: N/A
Title: Health Risks of Particulate Matter Components: Center Service Core
Investigators: Chen, Lung Chi
Institution: New York University School of Medicine
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2004
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2000
RFA: Airborne Particulate Matter (PM) Centers (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air


The responsibilities of the New York University (NYU) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Particulate Matter (PM) Center Service Core are to advance the objectives of the three projects underway: (1) X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Instrument Validation and Optimization, (2) Ion Chromatography (IC), and (3) Mobile Air Monitoring.

Progress Summary:

X-ray Flourescence Instrument Validation and Optimization: With the recruitment of Dr. Polina Maciejczyk, a post-doctoral fellow, we have made considerable progress in setting up the XRF measurement system. One secondary fluorescers turret wheel was realigned, which significantly increased the analytical sensitivity. Extensive work was done to decrease noise and to improve resolution. The instrument was calibrated for quantitation of 25 elements. In addition, the performance of the manufacturer's suggested procedure for determining antimony (Sb), cadmium (Cd), and tin (Sn) was deemed to be unacceptable. Thus, a new secondary cesium (Cs) flourescer was constructed and a new procedure was developed. Although most likely these elements will not be detected in ambient air, noticeable improvement was achieved in lowering the detection limits for the aforementioned elements. The XRF instrument is currently at the stage of validation.

Samples obtained from other XRF facilities (Research Triangle Park (RTP), Chester Labs, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality) are being quantified as a part of an intercomparison study. The comparative agreement has been quite good for the first row transition elements (< 10 percent). Lighter elements show less agreement (30 percent), and helium (He) flush failure is the primary suspect. Fifth and sixth row elements are hardly present in ambient air samples, and report very high uncertainties (50-100 percent). Samples with loadings of latter elements will be arriving from Chester Labs within next few weeks, and will facilitate the validation procedure.

Ion Chromatography (IC). Ion Chromatography has been operational since June 1999. During this period, routine IC analysis to measure concentrations of nitrate and sulfate were performed for Center investigators. For Dr. Thurston, sulfate concentrations from approximately 1,000 air filter samples taken from 9 cities in the US were measured. For Dr. Chen, sulfate and nitrate concentrations from over 200 samples collected from a combustion system were measured. It is anticipated that this instrument will continue to be used as a routine measurement system for soluble ions.

Mobile Air Monitoring Van. A study, which is partially funded by the NYU-EPA PM Center, has been initiated. This study involves measuring air quality at various sites in the South Bronx of NYC for comparison to measures obtained at a central monitoring site. For this purpose, a mobile monitoring van will be used. The van was overhauled mechanically with new tires, brakes, exhaust manifold, and air conditioning systems. Overall performance and safety checks were also performed. For the current "Air Quality in the South Bronx" study, equipment is being installed in the van to monitor concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, black/organic carbon, ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. This equipment includes a tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) and an aethalometer.

The TEOM provides direct, continuous measurement of particulate mass. The TEOM has received U.S. EPA certification for continuous PM10 monitoring and also is capable of measuring PM2.5. Concentration data are reported in micrograms (µg)/m3 at standard averaging times of 10 and 30 minutes; and 1, 8, and 24 hours. The instrument includes software to view results and control system operation from an on-board personal computer via a serial port connector, providing real-time outputs for quality control checks. We also purchased an automatic cartridge collector to collect ambient PM samples for elemental analysis using XRF.

The aethalometer (AE-14U model, Magee Scientific, Boulder, CO) measures black "elemental" carbon, a key component of diesel exhaust. The instrument detection limit is 1 nanogram (ng) of elemental carbon at temporal resolution selectable from one minute to one hour. It includes an embedded computer so that the data can be downloaded directly to an onboard personal computer in the van.

Additional instruments used include:

· Carbon Monoxide Monitor, Model 48C, Thermo Environmental Instrument Inc.
· Multigas Calibrator, Model 146C-432-111, with permeation oven and zero air generator, Thermo Environmental Instrument Inc.
· Monitor Weather Station II, Product #73545.001, Davis Instruments
· Nitrogen Oxides Monitor, Model 8840, Monitor Labs.
· Sulfur Dioxide Monitor, Model 8850, Monitor Labs.
· Ozone Monitor, Model 103-PC, Thermo Environmental Instrument Inc.
· Size-Selective Sequential Daily Air Sampler

Future Activities:

Progress will continue in each of the three project areas.

We will explore alternative methods to analyze the "difficult" elements of interest (selenium (Se), Sb, Cd) using their L-lines instead of the K-alpha lines to obtain the desired (lower) detection limits. Furthermore, contaminant peaks from target wheel silver (Ag) and collimator Sn will be remedied by covering everything with tungsten (W) or zirconium (Zr) foil. In addition, we will continue to participate in the inter-comparison study with other established XRF facilities to further validate the instrument and establish the PM Center as a reliable XRF analysis lab.

Ion chromatography analysis will continue to support the researchers of the Center.

The data collected from the instruments of the mobile air monitoring project will be logged into a computer equipped with the "Lab View" data acquisition system, which will expedite data handling and transfer. Data will also be downloaded to a lap top computer once every week and backed up to a central server.

Supplemental Keywords:

particulate matter, PM, exposure, epidemiology, clinical, animal, toxicology, X-ray flourescence, XRF, measurement, ion chromatography, IC, mobile air monitoring, tapered element oscillating microbalance, TEOM, aethalometer., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Air Pollution Monitoring, particulate matter, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, mobile sources, Environmental Monitoring, Physical Processes, Atmospheric Sciences, Atmosphere, Risk Assessment, ambient air quality, atmospheric particulate matter, particulates, monitoring, air toxics, atmospheric particles, chemical characteristics, toxicology, ambient air monitoring, acute cardiovascular effects, ion chromatography, airborne particulate matter, ozone, environmental risks, exposure, Sulfur dioxide, air pollution, aerosol composition, atmospheric aerosol particles, human exposure, x-ray fluorescence, ozone monitoring, PM, exposure assessment

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 1999
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R827351    EPA NYU PM Center: Health Risks of PM Components

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R827351C001 Exposure Characterization Error
    R827351C002 X-ray CT-based Assessment of Variations in Human Airway Geometry: Implications for Evaluation of Particle Deposition and Dose to Different Populations
    R827351C003 Asthma Susceptibility to PM2.5
    R827351C004 Health Effects of Ambient Air PM in Controlled Human Exposures
    R827351C005 Physicochemical Parameters of Combustion Generated Atmospheres as Determinants of PM Toxicity
    R827351C006 Effects of Particle-Associated Irritants on the Cardiovascular System
    R827351C007 Role of PM-Associated Transition Metals in Exacerbating Infectious Pneumoniae in Exposed Rats
    R827351C008 Immunomodulation by PM: Role of Metal Composition and Pulmonary Phagocyte Iron Status
    R827351C009 Health Risks of Particulate Matter Components: Center Service Core
    R827351C010 Lung Hypoxia as Potential Mechanisms for PM-Induced Health Effects
    R827351C011 Urban PM2.5 Surface Chemistry and Interactions with Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid (BALF)
    R827351C012 Subchronic PM2.5 Exposure Study at the NYU PM Center
    R827351C013 Long Term Health Effects of Concentrated Ambient PM2.5
    R827351C014 PM Components and NYC Respiratory and Cardiovascular Morbidity
    R827351C015 Development of a Real-Time Monitoring System for Acidity and Soluble Components in Airborne Particulate Matter
    R827351C016 Automated Real-Time Ambient Fine PM Monitoring System