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Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 419–429 | Cite as

Development and characterization of an exposure generation system to investigate the health effects of particles from fresh and aged traffic emissions

  • Vasileios PapapostolouEmail author
  • Joy E. Lawrence
  • Stephen T. Ferguson
  • Jack M. Wolfson
  • Edgar A. Diaz
  • John J. Godleski
  • Petros Koutrakis
Article

Abstract

Atmospheric photochemical reactions of vehicular primary emissions result in the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). This is the first study that has investigated the toxicity of secondary particles based on fleet vehicular emissions. We developed methods for photochemical oxidation of traffic primary emissions to produce mixtures of primary and/or secondary particles suitable for animal exposures. The exposure generation system produced test atmospheres of primary (P), aged primary plus SOA (P + SOA), or SOA particles suitable for animal exposures. The system consists of (1) a sampling system to extract the traffic emissions from the plenum of a highway tunnel ventilation stack, (2) a photochemical chamber to simulate atmospheric aging, and (3) a nonselective diffusion denuder to remove gaseous pollutants prior to exposure. In the presence of traffic primary particles (P + SOA), a longer mean residence time resulted in a higher SOA yield. Higher baseline plenum primary particle mass concentration resulted in lower SOA yield. In the absence of primary particles (SOA), higher plenum gas concentrations resulted in higher SOA yield. Secondary aerosol was largely organic but contained some nitrate and sulfate. Formation of secondary aerosol is influenced significantly by reaction of primary gases with ·OH. The system (1) provides adequate flow and stable chamber output of P, P + SOA, and SOA for characterization and animal exposures and (2) generates reproducible exposure atmospheres of P, P + SOA, and SOA, all at consistent mass concentrations.

Keywords

Vehicular emissions Photochemical chamber Secondary organic aerosol Health effects 

Abbreviations

BC

Black carbon

CAPs

Concentrated ambient particles

O3

Ozone

SOA

Secondary organic aerosol

TERESA

Toxicological Evaluation of Realistic Emission Source Aerosols

CO

Carbon monoxide

NOx

Nitrogen oxides

FEP

Fluorinated ethylene propylene

PFA

Polyfluorinated alkene

UV

Ultraviolet

HEPA

High-efficiency particulate air

·OH

Hydroxyl radical

MRT

Mean residence time

VOCs

Volatile organic compounds

NO

Nitric oxide

SMPS

Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer

CPC

Condensation Particle Counter

APS

Aerodynamic Particle Sizer

EC/OC

Elemental carbon and organic carbon

TOR

Thermal optical reflectance

PM

Particle mass

PyrolC

Pyrolyzed organic carbon concentration

NO2

Nitrogen dioxide

HNO3

Nitric acid

NH3

Ammonia

NH4NO3

Ammonium nitrate

·NO3

Nitrate radical

[NH4]2SO4

Ammonium sulfate

OC

Organic Carbon

SO2

Sulfur dioxide

H2SO4

Sulfuric acid

Notes

Acknowledgments

This publication was made possible by USEPA grants R-832416 and RD 83479801. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the grantee and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USEPA. Further, USEPA does not endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in the publication. This work was also supported by the Harvard NIEHS Center for Environmental Health (grant P30ES00002). We thank Dr. Stephen Rudnick for reading the manuscript and providing helpful suggestions. We also thank Elena Austin, Samuel Pueringer, and Dr. Choong-Min Kang for technical assistance and/or analytical support.

Supplementary material

11869_2012_178_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 28.8kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vasileios Papapostolou
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Joy E. Lawrence
    • 1
  • Stephen T. Ferguson
    • 1
  • Jack M. Wolfson
    • 1
  • Edgar A. Diaz
    • 1
  • John J. Godleski
    • 1
  • Petros Koutrakis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental HealthHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk Program, Department of Environmental HealthHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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