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Sci Total Environ. 2011 Oct 1;409(21):4511-8. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.07.020. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

Effects of physical activity on the deposition of traffic-related particles into the human lungs in silico.

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Department of Process and Environmental Engineering, P.O. Box 4300, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland.


Traffic-related particle emissions have been a great concern over a number of years due to their adverse health effects. In this research project, traffic-related particle deposition in the human lungs is studied using lung deposition estimates based on the ICRP 66 model. This study covers four human groups, i.e. adult males, adult females and two groups of children aged 5 and 10 years. The study examines particle deposition in the human lungs in relation to four different physical exercise levels, i.e. sleeping, sitting, light exercise and heavy exercise. To conduct the study, the particle size distributions of diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) busses were monitored in field laboratory conditions. The study indicates that the total number of diesel particles measured is greater than the total number of CNG particles. The results further display that most of the diesel particles measured are smaller than 0.2 μm, whereas the CNG particles are smaller than 0.05 μm in aerodynamic diameter. The level of physical exercise, as well as the age and gender of a person affects the deposition of particles in the lungs. An increase in the physical activity results in larger amounts of small-size particles penetrating deeper into the respiratory system. The lung deposition of particles in males was substantially different compared to that of females and children. The deposited dose of particles was generally lower for females than for males and further lower for children than for females. This article argues that these groups should be discussed separately when conducting exposure assessments and that the level of physical activity should be taken into account when assessing potential health consequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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