Particulate Matter

Emerging evidence suggests that short episodes of high exposure to air pollution occur while commuting. These events can result in potentially adverse health effects. We present a quantification of the exposure of car passengers and cyclists to particulate matter (PM).

We have simultaneously measured concentrations (PNC, PM2.5 and PM10) and ventilatory parameters (minute ventilation (VE), breathing frequency and tidal volume) in three Belgian locations (Brussels, Louvain-la-Neuve and Mol) for 55 persons (38 male and 17 female).

A link between particulate matter (PM) exposure and inflammatory disease has been shown by many studies, but few have explored how the chemical composition of PM influences inflammatory processes. This study investigated the connection between different components of PM and markers of inflammation in the blood, finding that long-term exposure to transition metals, emitted by traffic and industry, may cause chronic inflammation.

Globally, more than 3.2 million premature deaths per year are attributed to due to exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5). A new study estimates that 2.1 million premature deaths could be avoided if countries achieved the WHO guideline for PM2.5. Even by meeting their closest WHO interim concentration targets could avoid 750 000 (23%) deaths attributed to PM2.5 per year.