Increasing cardiopulmonary effects of ultrafine particles at relatively low fine particle concentrations

Chen Chen, Shan Liu, Wei Dong, Yi Song, Mengtian Chu, Junhui Xu, Xinbiao Guo, Bin Zhao, Furong Deng
Science of the Total Environment 2020 August 18, 751: 141726
Ultrafine particles (UFPs) are of concern because of their high pulmonary deposition efficiency. However, present control measures are generally targeted at fine particles (PM2.5 ), with little effect on UFPs. The health effects of UFPs at different PM2.5 concentrations may provide a basic for controlling UFPs but remain unclear in polluted areas. School children spend the majority of their time in the classrooms. This study investigated the different short-term effects of indoor UFPs on school children in Beijing, China when indoor PM2.5 concentrations exceeded or satisfied the recently published Chinese standard for indoor PM2.5 . Cardiopulmonary functions of 48 school children, of whom 46 completed, were measured three times. Indoor PM2.5 and UFPs were monitored in classrooms on weekdays. Measurements were separated into two groups according to the abovementioned standard. Mixed-effect models were used to explore the health effects of the air pollutants. Generally, UFP-associated effects on children's cardiopulmonary function persisted even at relatively low PM2.5 concentrations, especially on heart rate variability indices. The risks associated with high PM2.5 concentrations are well-known, but the effects of UFPs on children's cardiopulmonary function deserve more attention even when PM2.5 has been controlled. UFP control and standard setting should therefore be considered.

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