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Inhal Toxicol. 2011 Aug;23 Suppl 2:1-10. doi: 10.3109/08958378.2010.568019. Epub 2011 Jun 3.

Toxicological evaluation of realistic emission source aerosols (TERESA): introduction and overview.

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Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Determining the health impacts of sources and components of fine particulate matter (PM(2.5)) is an important scientific goal. PM(2.5) is a complex mixture of inorganic and organic constituents that are likely to differ in their potential to cause adverse health outcomes. The Toxicological Evaluation of Realistic Emissions of Source Aerosols (TERESA) study focused on two PM sources--coal-fired power plants and mobile sources--and sought to investigate the toxicological effects of exposure to emissions from these sources. The set of papers published here document the power plant experiments. TERESA attempted to delineate health effects of primary particles, secondary (aged) particles, and mixtures of these with common atmospheric constituents. TERESA involved withdrawal of emissions from the stacks of three coal-fired power plants in the United States. The emissions were aged and atmospherically transformed in a mobile laboratory simulating downwind power plant plume processing. Toxicological evaluations were carried out in laboratory rats exposed to different emission scenarios with extensive exposure characterization. The approach employed in TERESA was ambitious and innovative. Technical challenges included the development of stack sampling technology that prevented condensation of water vapor from the power plant exhaust during sampling and transfer, while minimizing losses of primary particles; development and optimization of a photochemical chamber to provide an aged aerosol for animal exposures; development and evaluation of a denuder system to remove excess gaseous components; and development of a mobile toxicology laboratory. This paper provides an overview of the conceptual framework, design, and methods employed in the study.

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