Nano and ultrafine particle number concentrations in different environments : application towards air quality regulations
Morawska, Lidia, Jayaratne, Rohan, & Ling, Xuan (2009) Nano and ultrafine particle number concentrations in different environments : application towards air quality regulations. In 19th International Clean Air And Environment Conference, 6-9 September 2009, Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, Perth, WA.
Particle number concentrations vary significantly with environment and, in this study, we attempt to assess the significance of these differences. Towards this aim, we reviewed 85 papers that have reported particle number concentrations levels at 126 sites covering different environments. We grouped the results into eight categories according to measurement location including: road tunnel, on-road, road-side, street canyon, urban, urban background, rural, and clean background. From these reports, the overall median number concentration for each of the eight site categories was calculated. The eight location categories may be classified into four distinct groups. The mean median particle number locations for these four types were found to be statistically different from each other. Rural and clean background sites had the lowest concentrations of about 3x103 cm-3. Urban and urban background sites showed concentrations that were three times higher (9x103 cm-3). The mean concentration for the street canyon, roadside and on-road measurement sites was 4.6x104 cm-3, while the highest concentrations were observed in the road tunnels (8.6x104 cm-3). This variation is important when assessing human exposure-response for which there is very little data available, making it difficult to develop health guidelines, a basis for national regulations. Our analyses shows that the current levels in environments affected by vehicle emissions are 3 to 28 times higher than in the natural environments. At present, there is no threshold level in response to exposure to ultrafine particles. Therefore, future control and management strategies should target a decrease of these particles in urban environments by more than one order of magnitude to bring them down to the natural background. At present there is a long way to go to achieve this.
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