Black Carbon as an Additional Indicator of the Adverse Health Effects of Airborne Particles Compared to PM10 and PM2.5
van Bree, L.
P. Keuken, M.
ten Brink, H.M.
Background: Current air quality standards for particulate matter use the PM mass concentration (PM10 or PM2.5) as a metric. It has been suggested that particles from combustion sources are more health relevant than particles from other sources, but the impact of policies directed at reducing particles from combustion processes is usually relatively small when effects are estimated for a reduction in the total mass concentration. Objectives: To evaluate the value of black carbon particles (BCP) as an additional indicator in air quality management. Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of health effects of BCP compared to PM mass based on data from time-series studies and cohort studies that measured both exposures. We compare the potential health benefits of a hypothetical traffic abatement measure, using near roadway concentration increments of BCP and PM2.5 based on data from prior studies. Results: Estimated health effects of a 1-Eg/m3 increase in exposure were greater for BCP than for PM10 or PM2.5, but estimated effects of an IQR increase were similar. Two-pollutant models in time-series studies suggested that the effect of BCP was more robust than the effect of PM mass. The estimated increase in life expectancy associated with a hypothetical traffic abatement measure was four to nine times higher when expressed in BCP compared to an equivalent change in PM2.5 mass. Conclusion: BCP is a valuable additional air quality indicator to evaluate the health risks of air quality dominated by primary combustion particles.
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