SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board and the Electric Power Research Institute have released a report by investigators at the University of California, Davis. The new study looks at the toxicity of various components of fine particle air pollution (PM2.5), including ultrafine particles.
Previous research has shown that PM2.5 is associated with asthma, heart disease and premature death.
The investigators introduced particles collected from different air samples into laboratory mice and looked for indicators of respiratory and cardiovascular effects, such as markers of inflammation in lungs and blood. The samples were collected with a system that classified particles according to their chemical composition, thereby enabling researchers to associate the particles to different sources.
The analysis showed different levels of toxicity for different PM samples. The samples were associated with a variety of sources, such as traffic and wood smoke. Also, ultrafine particles were more potent inducers of inflammatory markers and cell death than larger particles. The air samples used in this study were collected in Fresno, California.
The research was conducted by Dr. Anthony Wexler, director of the Air Quality Research Center at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Wexler developed a novel methodology using a single particle mass spectrometer and ten particle samplers to analyze and separate ambient particles.
Laboratory mice were exposed to the separated particles, and their responses were monitored for signs of toxicity by Dr. Kent Pinkerton, a professor of pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine.
CARB is the lead agency in California for cleaning up the air and fighting climate change to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards. Its mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective reduction of air and climate pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.