Total free radical species and oxidation equivalent in polluted air

Sci Total Environ. 2017 Dec 31;609:1103-1113. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.233. Epub 2017 Aug 4.


Free radicals are the most important chemical intermediate or agent of the atmosphere and influenced by thousands of reactants. The free radicals determine the oxidizing power of the polluted air. Various gases present in smog or haze are oxidants and induce organ and cellular damage via generation of free radical species. At present, however, the high variability of total free radicals in polluted air has prevented the detection of possible trends or distributions in the concentration of those species. The total free radicals are a kind of contaminants with colorless, tasteless characteristics, and almost imperceptible by human body. Here we present total free radical detection and distribution characteristics, and analyze the effects of total free radicals in polluted air on human health. We find that the total free radical values can be described by not only a linear dependence on ozone at higher temperature period, but also a linear delay dependence on particulate matter at lower temperature period throughout the measurement period. The total free radical species distribution is decrease from west to east in Lanzhou, which closely related to the distribution of the air pollutants. The total free radical oxidation capacity in polluted air roughly matches the effects of tobacco smoke produced by the incomplete combustion of a controlled amount of tobacco in a smoke chamber. A relatively unsophisticated chromatographic fingerprint similarity is used for indicating preliminarily the effect of total free radicals in polluted air on human health.

Keywords: Free radicals; Human health; Linear correlation; Oxidation equivalent; Polluted air.