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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 249; doi:10.3390/ijerph13030249

The Use of Carbonaceous Particle Exposure Metrics in Health Impact Calculations

1
Atmospheric Science Unit, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, 11418 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Environment and Health Administration, SLB, Box 8136, 104 20 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, 90187 Umeå, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 8 September 2015 / Revised: 12 February 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 24 February 2016
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Abstract

Combustion-related carbonaceous particles seem to be a better indicator of adverse health effects compared to PM2.5 and PM10. Historical studies are based on black smoke (BS), but more recent studies use absorbance (Abs), black carbon (BC) or elemental carbon (EC) as exposure indicators. To estimate health risks based on BS, we review the literature regarding the relationship between Abs, BS, BC and EC. We also discuss the uncertainties associated with the comparison of relative risks (RRs) based on these conversions. EC is reported to represent a proportion between 5.2% and 27% of BS with a mean value of 12%. Correlations of different metrics at one particular site are higher than when different sites are compared. Comparing all traffic, urban and rural sites, there is no systematic site dependence, indicating that other properties of the particles or errors affect the measurements and obscure the results. It is shown that the estimated daily mortality associated with short-term levels of EC is in the same range as PM10, but this is highly dependent on the EC to BS relationship that is used. RRs for all-cause mortality associated with short-term exposure to PM10 seem to be higher at sites with higher EC concentrations, but more data are needed to verify this. View Full-Text
Keywords: black smoke; elemental carbon; black carbon; urban air pollution; health effects; relative risk; PM10; combustion-related particles black smoke; elemental carbon; black carbon; urban air pollution; health effects; relative risk; PM10; combustion-related particles
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Olstrup, H.; Johansson, C.; Forsberg, B. The Use of Carbonaceous Particle Exposure Metrics in Health Impact Calculations. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 249.

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