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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2013;76(7):429-39.

Impact of road traffic emissions on ambient air quality in an industrialized area.

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Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade, Taguspark, Porto Salvo, Portugal.


Several epidemiological studies showed a correlation between airborne particulate matter(PM) and the incidence of several diseases in exposed populations. Consequently, the European Commission reinforced the need and obligation of member-states to monitor exposure levels of PM and adopt measures to reduce this exposure. However, in order to plan appropriate actions, it is necessary to understand the main sources of air pollution and their relative contributions to the formation of the ambient aerosol. The aim of this study was to develop a methodology to assess the contribution of vehicles to the atmospheric aerosol,which may constitute a useful tool to assess the effectiveness of planned mitigation actions.This methodology is based on three main steps: (1) estimation of traffic emissions provided from the vehicles exhaust and resuspension; (2) use of the dispersion model TAPM (“The Air Pollution Model”) to estimate the contribution of traffic for the atmospheric aerosol; and(3) use of geographic information system (GIS) tools to map the PM10 concentrations provided from traffic in the surroundings of a target area. The methodology was applied to an industrial area, and results showed that the highest contribution of traffic for the PM10 concentrations resulted from dust resuspension and that heavy vehicles were the type that most contributed to the PM10 concentration.

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