Advertisement

Respiratory Health Effects of Ultrafine Particles in Children: a Literature Review

  • Amy Heinzerling
  • Joy HsuEmail author
  • Fuyuen Yip
Article

Abstract

By convention, airborne particles ≤0.1 μm (100 nm) are defined as ultrafine particles (UFPs). UFPs can comprise a large number of particles in particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5). Despite the documented respiratory health effects of PM2.5 and concerns that UFPs might be more toxic than larger particular matter, the effects of UFPs on the respiratory system are not well-described. Even less is known about the respiratory health effects of UFPs among particularly vulnerable populations including children. We reviewed studies examining respiratory health effects of UFPs in children and identified 12 relevant articles. Most (8/12) studies measured UFP exposure using central ambient monitors, and we found substantial heterogeneity in UFP definitions and study designs. No long-term studies were identified. In single pollutant models, UFPs were associated with incident wheezing, current asthma, lower spirometric values, and asthma-related emergency department visits among children. Also, higher exhaled nitric oxide levels were positively correlated with UFP dose among children with asthma or allergy to house dust mites in one study. Multivariate models accounting for potential copollutant confounding yielded no statistically significant results. Although evidence for a relationship between UFPs and children’s respiratory is accumulating, the literature remains inconclusive. Interpretation of existing data is constrained by study heterogeneity, limited accounting for UFP spatial variation, and lack of significant findings from multipollutant models.

Keywords

Ultrafine Child Particulate matter Respiratory health 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Funding Source

No external funding for this manuscript

References

  1. Andersen, Z. J., et al. (2008a). Ambient air pollution triggers wheezing symptoms in infants. Thorax, 63, 710–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersen, Z. J., et al. (2008b). Size distribution and total number concentration of ultrafine and accumulation mode particles and hospital admissions in children and the elderly in Copenhagen. Denmark. Occup Environ Med., 65, 458–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boehmer, T. K., et al. (2013). Residential proximity to major highways - United States, 2010. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 62(Suppl 3), 46–50.Google Scholar
  4. Boothe, V. L., et al. (2014). Residential traffic exposure and childhood leukemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46, 413–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bowatte, G., et al. (2014). The influence of childhood traffic related air pollution exposure on asthma, allergy and sensitization: a systematic review and a meta-analysis of birth cohort studies. Allergy.Google Scholar
  6. Buonanno, G., et al. (2012). Individual dose and exposure of Italian children to ultrafine particles. The Science of the Total Environment, 438, 271–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buonanno, G., et al. (2013). Health effects of daily airborne particle dose in children: direct association between personal dose and respiratory health effects. Environmental Pollution, 180, 246–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chung, Y., et al. (2015). Associations between long-term exposure to chemical constituents of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and mortality in Medicare enrollees in the eastern United States. Environmental Health Perspectives, 123, 467–74.Google Scholar
  9. Diapouli, E., et al. (2008). Indoor and outdoor PM mass and number concentrations at schools in the Athens area. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 136, 13–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diaz-Robles, L. A., et al. (2014). Health risks caused by short term exposure to ultrafine particles generated by residential wood combustion: a case study of Temuco. Chile. Environ Int., 66, 174–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Evans, K. A., et al. (2014). Increased ultrafine particles and carbon monoxide concentrations are associated with asthma exacerbation among urban children. Environmental Research, 129, 11–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ezz, W. N., et al. (2015). Ultrafine Particles from Traffic Emissions and Children’s Health (UPTECH) in Brisbane, Queensland (Australia): study design and implementation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12, 1687–702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gauderman, W. J., et al. (2015). Association of improved air quality with lung development in children. The New England Journal of Medicine, 372, 905–913.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gong, L., et al. (2009). Ultrafine particles deposition inside passenger vehicles. Aerosol Science and Technology, 43, 544–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Halonen, J. I., et al. (2008). Urban air pollution, and asthma and COPD hospital emergency room visits. Thorax, 63, 635–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. HEI Review Panel on Ultrafine Particles. (2013). Understanding the health effects of ambient ultrafine particles. HEI Perspectives 3. Boston: Health Effects Institute.Google Scholar
  17. Herner, J., et al. (2006). Dominant mechanisms that shape the airborne particle size and composition distribution in central California. Aerosol Science and Technology, 40, 827–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Assessment of Asthma and Indoor Air. (2000). Clearing the air: asthma and indoor air exposures. Washington: National Academies Press (US).Google Scholar
  19. Iskandar, A., et al. (2012). Coarse and fine particles but not ultrafine particles in urban air trigger hospital admission for asthma in children. Thorax, 67, 252–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Karner, A. A., et al. (2010). Near-roadway air quality: synthesizing the findings from real-world data. Environmental Science & Technology, 44, 5334–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kim, J. L., et al. (2011). Respiratory health among Korean pupils in relation to home, school and outdoor environment. Journal of Korean Medical Science, 26, 166–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kreyling, W. G., et al. (2006). Ultrafine particle-lung interactions: does size matter? Journal of Aerosol Medicine, 19, 74–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Laumbach, R. J., & Kipen, H. M. (2012). Respiratory health effects of air pollution: update on biomass smoke and traffic pollution. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 129, 3–11. quiz 12–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McCreanor, J., et al. (2007). Respiratory effects of exposure to diesel traffic in persons with asthma. The New England Journal of Medicine, 357, 2348–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nazaroff, W. W. (2004). Indoor particle dynamics. Indoor Air, 14(Suppl 7), 175–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Newcomb, P., et al. (2012). Acute effects of walking environment and GSTM1 variants in children with asthma. Biological Research for Nursing, 14, 55–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ostro, B., et al. (2015). Associations of mortality with long-term exposures to fine and ultrafine particles, species and sources: results from the California Teachers Study Cohort. Environmental Health Perspectives, 123, 549–56.Google Scholar
  28. Patton, A. P., et al. (2015). Transferability and generalizability of regression models of ultrafine particles in urban neighborhoods in the Boston area. Environmental Science & Technology, 19, 6051–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pekkanen, J., & Kulmala, M. (2004). Exposure assessment of ultrafine particles in epidemiologic time-series studies. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 30(Suppl 2), 9–18.Google Scholar
  30. Pekkanen, J., et al. (1997). Effects of ultrafine and fine particles in urban air on peak expiratory flow among children with asthmatic symptoms. Environmental Research, 74, 24–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Peterson, B.S., et al. (2015). Effects of prenatal exposure to air pollutants (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) on the development of brain white matter, cognition, and behavior in later childhood. JAMA Psychiatry.Google Scholar
  32. Pietropaoli, A. P., et al. (2004). Pulmonary function, diffusing capacity, and inflammation in healthy and asthmatic subjects exposed to ultrafine particles. Inhalation Toxicology, 16(Suppl 1), 59–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Polidori, A., et al. (2013). Pilot study of high-performance air filtration for classroom applications. Indoor Air, 23, 185–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pope, C. A., 3rd, & Dockery, D. W. (2006). Health effects of fine particulate air pollution: lines that connect. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, 56, 709–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Roemer, W., et al. (1999). Inhomogeneity in response to air pollution in European children (PEACE project). Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56, 86–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schuepp, K., & Sly, P. D. (2012). The developing respiratory tract and its specific needs in regard to ultrafine particulate matter exposure. Paediatric Respiratory Reviews, 13, 95–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Spickett, J., et al. (2014). The domestic environment and respiratory health of school children in Zongshan. China. Asia Pac J Public Health., 26, 596–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Terzano, C., et al. (2010). Air pollution ultrafine particles: toxicity beyond the lung. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 14, 809–21.Google Scholar
  39. Tiittanen, P., et al. (1999). Fine particulate air pollution, resuspended road dust and respiratory health among symptomatic children. The European Respiratory Journal, 13, 266–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency National Ambient Air Quality Standards, http://www.epa.gov/air/criteria.html. Accessed 2 Mar 2015.
  41. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2009). 2009 Final report: integrated science assessment for particulate matter. Washington: U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA/600/R-08/139F.Google Scholar
  42. Weichenthal, S., et al. (2008). Characterizing and predicting ultrafine particle counts in Canadian classrooms during the winter months: model development and evaluation. Environmental Research, 106, 349–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wichmann, H.E., et al. (2000). Daily mortality and fine and ultrafine particles in Erfurt, Germany part I: role of particle number and particle mass. Research Report Health Effects Institute, 586; discussion 87–94.Google Scholar
  44. World Health Organization, International Classification of Diseases, http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/ Accessed 1 May 2015.
  45. Wu, W., et al. (2015). A Bayesian approach to account for misclassification and overdispersion in count data. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 28, 10648–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zhang, J.J., et al. (2009). Health effects of real-world exposure to diesel exhaust in persons with asthma. Research Report Health Effects Institute, 5109; discussion 111–23.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Epidemic Intelligence Service, Office of Public Health Scientific ServicesCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental HealthCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations