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A new method to measure real-world respiratory tract deposition of inhaled ambient black carbon

Madueño, Leizel, Kecorius, Simonas, Löndahl, Jakob, Müller, Thomas, Pfeifer, Sascha, Haudek, Andrea, Mardoñez, Valeria, Wiedensohler, Alfred
Environmental pollution 2019 v.248 pp. 295-303
air, air pollution, breathing, carbon, feasibility studies, health effects assessments, instrumentation, measuring devices, portable equipment, respiratory system, systems engineering, walking, Bolivia
In this study, we present the development of a mobile system to measure real-world total respiratory tract deposition of inhaled ambient black carbon (BC). Such information can be used to supplement the existing knowledge on air pollution-related health effects, especially in the regions where the use of standard methods and intricate instrumentation is limited. The study is divided in two parts. Firstly, we present the design of portable system and methodology to evaluate the exhaled air BC content. We demonstrate that under real-world conditions, the proposed system exhibit negligible particle losses, and can additionally be used to determine the minute ventilation. Secondly, exemplary experimental data from the system is presented. A feasibility study was conducted in the city of La Paz, Bolivia. In a pilot experiment, we found that the cumulative total respiratory tract deposition dose over 1-h commuting trip would result in approximately 2.6 μg of BC. This is up to 5 times lower than the values obtained from conjectural approach (e.g. using physical parameters from previously reported worksheets). Measured total respiratory tract deposited BC fraction varied from 39% to 48% during walking and commuting inside a micro-bus, respectively.To the best of our knowledge, no studies focusing on experimental determination of real-world deposition dose of BC have been performed in developing regions. This can be especially important because the BC mass concentration is significant and determines a large fraction of particle mass concentration. In this work, we propose a potential method, recommendations, as well as the limitations in establishing an easy and relatively cheap way to estimate the respiratory tract deposition of BC.