Evaluation of the Submicron Particles Distribution Between Mountain and Urban Site: Contribution of the Transportation for Defining Environmental and Human Health Issues

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Apr 14;16(8):1339. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16081339.


Transportation is one of the main causes of atmospheric pollution, especially in downtown big cities. Researchers usually point their attention to gaseous and/or particulate matter pollutants. This paper investigated the role of submicron particles, particularly the fraction ranging between 5-560 nm, in aerosol chemistry for identifying the contribution of autovehicular traffic and investigating the doses deposited in the human respiratory tract. Measurements carried out by two Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (FMPS, TSI) analyzers were simultaneously performed at two different sampling sites (an urban and a mountain site) during workdays and weekends in July. The total particle number (2-2.5 times higher in the urban site), the aerosol size distribution (different modes during the day), and the ultrafine/non-ultrafine particle ratios (ranging between 2-4 times between two sites) were investigated and discussed in relationship to the high autovehicular traffic in Rome and the almost null anthropogenic emissions at the mountain site, as well as the differing contributions of both to the "fresh nucleation" and to "aged aerosol". Furthermore, the regional cumulative number doses deposited in the human respiratory tract were studied for both sites: The difference between the urban/mountain site was very high (up to 15 fold), confirming the pollutant role of transportation.

Keywords: human health; mountain and urban site; submicron particles; transportation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Altitude*
  • Cities
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / analysis*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology*
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis*


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions