Design and characterization of human exposure to generated sulfate and soot particles in a pilot chamber study

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2016 Apr;66(4):366-76. doi: 10.1080/10962247.2015.1136712.


A number of literatures have documented adverse health effects of exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and secondary sulfate aerosol and black carbon may contribute to health impacts of PM2.5 exposure. We designed an exposure system to generate sulfate and traffic soot particles, and assessed the feasibility of using it for human exposure assessment in a pilot human exposure study. In the designed exposure system, average mass concentrations of generated sulfate and soot particles were 74.19 μg/m3 and 11.54 μg/m3 in the chamber and did not vary significantly during two-hour human exposure sessions. The size ranges of generated sulfate were largely between 20 to 200 nm, whereas those of generated soot particles were in the size ranges of 50 to 200 nm. Following two-hour exposure to generated sulfate and soot particles, we observed significant increases in fractional exhaled NO (FeNO) in young and health subjects. Building on established human exposure system and health response follow-up methods, future full-scale studies focusing on the effects of mixed particulates and individual PM2.5 components would provide data in understanding the underpinning cardio-respiratory outcomes in relation to air pollution mixture exposure.

Implications: Controlled exposure is a useful design to measure the biological responses repeatedly following particulate exposures of target components and set exposure at target levels of health concerns. Our study provides rational and establishes method for future full-scale studies to focus on examining the effects of mixed particulates and individual PM2.5 components.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atmosphere Exposure Chambers*
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Breath Tests
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Soot / administration & dosage
  • Soot / adverse effects*
  • Sulfates / administration & dosage
  • Sulfates / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Soot
  • Sulfates