Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 8533-8546, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Comparative assessment of ecotoxicity of urban aerosol
B. Turóczi1, A. Hoffer2, Á. Tóth1, N. Kováts1, A. Ács1, Á. Ferincz1, A. Kovács1, and A. Gelencsér1
1University of Pannonia, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Veszprém, Hungary
2Air Chemistry Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Veszprém, Hungary

Abstract. In addition to its mass concentration, the health effects of urban particulate matter may depend on its particle size distribution and chemical composition. Yet air pollution regulations rely on exclusively bulk PM10 concentration measurements, without regard to their potentially different health effects under different conditions. Aerosols from various sources are well known to contain a plethora of toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic constituents such as heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In spite of the fact that tremendous efforts have been put to establish links between aerosol pollution and human health or mortality, the potential acute effects of PM2.5/PM10 have never been assessed for lack of adequate methodology. Here we present the application of a simple and sensitive method for the direct assessment of the overall ecotoxicity of various PM2.5/PM10 samples collected on filters. The method is based on the Vibrio fischeri bioluminescence inhibition bioassay that has been standardized for solid samples, representing a relevant biological exposure route. Direct emission samples proved to be significantly more ecotoxic than photochemically processed aerosol, thus marked differences were observed between the ecotoxicities of urban PM10 in summer and winter. The previously overlooked acute effects of urban PM10 may add to the established effects of gaseous primary pollutants aggravating health problems during severe air pollution episodes.

Citation: Turóczi, B., Hoffer, A., Tóth, Á., Kováts, N., Ács, A., Ferincz, Á., Kovács, A., and Gelencsér, A.: Comparative assessment of ecotoxicity of urban aerosol, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 8533-8546, doi:10.5194/acpd-12-8533-2012, 2012.
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