Airborne particles in Swansea, UK : their collection and characterization
Urban air particulate matter (PM) has previously been associated with a variety of adverse health effects. It is now believed that the smallest particles, ultrafine or nanoparticles, are linked to the greatest health effects. The physicochemistry of these particles is likely to provide information regarding their toxicity. Therefore, the aim of this study was to further the understanding of the heterogeneous and changing particle concentrations in urban air, in conjunction with gaining an understanding of the physicochemistry of the particles. A Dekati electrical low-pressure impactor was used to collect the particles and real-time data in a busy traffic corridor in Swansea, Wales, over a period of 10 nonconsecutive weeks. Particle concentrations in the street canyon were analyzed and particle physicochemistries investigated using a variety of techniques. Particle number concentrations were found to vary both diurnally and from day to day in the traffic corridor. Of all particles, the nano to fine size fraction was consistently identified in the highest concentrations (maximum: 140,000 particles cm-3). Particle physicochemistry was found to vary as a function of size, with larger particles exhibiting a greater variety of morphologies (and consequently particle types) and associated metals.