2000 Progress Report: Physicochemical Parameters of Combustion Generated Atmospheres as Determinants of PM Toxicity

EPA Grant Number: R827351C005
Subproject: this is subproject number 005 , 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: Physicochemical Parameters of Combustion Generated Atmospheres as Determinants of PM Toxicity
Investigators: Chen, Lung Chi
Institution: New York University School of Medicine
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2005 (Extended to May 31, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 2000 through May 31, 2001
RFA: Airborne Particulate Matter (PM) Centers (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air


The objective of this research project is to examine whether toxicological effects associated with combustion-generated particulate matter (PM) depend upon specific physicochemical characteristics of the particles. This project will determine the influence of physicochemical parameters, specifically those of combustion generated PM, on the time course, dose response, and persistence of particle-induced cardiopulmonary effects.

Progress Summary:

This project is closely coordinated with Dr. Nadziejko's PM Center-sponsored study in the measurement of cardiopulmonary effects upon exposures to various PM atmospheres. We have successfully produced a mixture of carbon (C), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and metal (iron (Fe) or copper (Cu)). We have developed two furnace systems to produce realistic combustion effluents. These systems will allow determination of specific components, especially metals, which may be responsible for adverse health effects, and an assessment of whether any effects could be nonspecific, i.e., whether they will occur following the inhalation of any type of particle.

Both furnace systems and the electronics for temperature regulation have been updated. To produce Fe (or Cu), and sulfur (S)-coated C particles, sucrose solutions containing varying concentrations of Fe(NO3)3 (or Cu(NO3)2) were generated and burned in a furnace system previously used to produce coal fly ash. The mass median diameter (MMD) of particles produced by a collison nebulizer (before combustion) using 10 sucrose solutions (each containing 1,117 parts per million (ppm) Fe) was 0.9 micrometers (µm). When 10 percent sucrose solution containing 1,117 ppm Fe (or Cu) was burned in the furnace at 750°C in the presence of 1 ppm SO2, ultrafine particles with a median diameter of 32 ± 1.3 nanometers (nm) (34.0 ± 7.4 nm for Cu) and geometric standard deviation of 1.55 were produced. A number concentration up to 1.9 x 107 particles/cm3 was achieved. An x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) was used to measure the concentrations of Fe, Cu, and S in these particles. At this combustion condition, the particles produced from this furnace contained 35.1 percent and 3.6 percent by mass of Fe and S, respectively (30.6 percent Cu and 6.9 percent S when Cu was used). It appeared that Cu is almost twice as efficient (6.9 percent versus 3.6 percent) in converting SO2 gas to particle-associated S.

Sprague Dawley rats were exposed to furnace gas, or to 450 µg/m3 of these particles in furnace gas, for 3 hours and their lungs were lavaged 24 hours post-exposure. A lead oxide diffusion denuder was used to remove SO2 from the exposure atmospheres. None of the exposure atmospheres produced changes in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels in the lavage fluid. However, those particles containing a mixture of Fe, SO2, and C produced a 6.8-fold increase over the furnace gas control in the total number of cells in the lavage, whereas particles containing Cu, SO2, and C did not produce any change in this parameter. The results are shown in the table below.

Exposure Atmosphere Total Cell Counts (106) LDH (BB unit)
Furnace Gas 0.70 ± 0.14 95.5 ± 10.2
SO2 + C 1.52 ± 0.31 78.7 ± 6.3
cu + SO2 + C 1.52 ± 0.23 80.0 ± 13.5
Fe + SO2 + C 4.77 ± 0.41* 113.7 ± 28.2
Values are mean ± standard error, (n = 4 to 7 per exposure group).
* = Significantly different than furnace gas control (p <0.0001).

Future Activities:

We will determine the irritant potency as well as the cardiopulmonary effects of these particles. Healthy animals will be used first, followed by compromised animals. The morphology of these particles will be investigated using the atomic force microscope, XRF, and transmission and scanning electron microscopes.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 5 publications for this subproject

Supplemental Keywords:

particulate matter, PM, exposure, combustion, toxicology, physicochemical, cardiopulmonary, metal, furnace, rats, animal., RFA, Health, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Scientific Discipline, Air, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Waste, INDUSTRY, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, particulate matter, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Chemicals, Risk Assessments, Physical Processes, Environmental Monitoring, Industrial Processes, Incineration/Combustion, Risk Assessment, ambient air quality, atmospheric particulate matter, particulates, combustion byproducts, air toxics, atmospheric particles, chemical characteristics, toxicology, ambient air monitoring, acute cardiovascular effects, airborne particulate matter, environmental risks, exposure, combustion emissions, dose response, air pollution, Sulfur dioxide, aerosol composition, atmospheric aerosol particles, human exposure, combustion, PM, exposure assessment, human health risk

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • Final Report

  • 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