Special Issue "Health Effects of Airborne Particles, Gases and Aerosols: Current and Future Perspectives"

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Toxicology and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Teresa D. Tetley

Lung Cell Biology, Division of Airway Disease, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, SW3 6LY, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0) 20 759 42984
Interests: mechanisms of pulmonary inflammation and lung disease; inhalation toxicology; cardiovascular effects; airborne particles—ambient particulate air pollution and engineered nanoparticles; asbestos; cigarette smoke; microbial infection; every day and occupational exposure; bioreactivity, immunology and toxicity; cell death pathways; particle uptake and translocation; oxidative stress; TLR activation; pro-inflammatory events

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The respiratory system is the primary target organ for airborne particulates, gases, and aerosols from natural and man-made sources. Although we are equipped to deal with many of these agents, there are circumstances when the usual defence mechanisms are overwhelmed, or when lung defence is already compromised, which can lead to both acute and chronic adverse health effects. An important consideration is the ever-changing nature of airborne substances, some of which are increasingly being related to respiratory symptoms, allergy and asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), fibrosis, and cancer. In addition, there is mounting evidence that inhaled toxicants can have systemic effects on the cardiovascular system, cognition, growth, and other processes.

Today, urban traffic-related air pollution is estimated to be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in Europe and America. Rapid urbanisation in Beijing generates a dense haze that regularly exceeds government threshold guidelines, impacting on normal lifestyles. Use of novel engineered nanomaterials is exponential; we know little about their long-term health effects, hazard and risk. Cigarette smoking is declining in the West, but is rapidly increasing in countries such as Africa. The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to replace tobacco is perceived to be less harmful, yet they contain additives, the effects of which are largely unknown. Other considerations include the effects of climate change, natural events/disasters, therapeutic applications, spray products and use of biomass fuels.

The aim of this Special Issue is to highlight current and anticipated future issues relating to the human health effects of exposure to airborne toxicants. Of particular interest is whether what we have already learnt will impact on managing assessment of hazard and risk of exposure to new types of airborne substances and anticipated health effects of future exposures (e.g., burning biomass, new generation nanomaterials, novel inhaled therapeutics, novel consumer products/sprays). Original research papers, reviews and short communications are welcome. The following areas will be covered:

  • Respiratory effects: e.g., allergy and asthma, cough, COPD, cancer, fibrosis
  • Cardiovascular effects: e.g., thrombosis (associated with acute coronary syndrome, stroke, deep venous thrombosis) and electrical dysfunction (ventricular arrhythmia) and changes in autonomic nervous system
  • Impact on other organs following inhalation, e.g., brain/cognitive function, growth, nervous system
  • Multipollutant exposure
  • Epidemiological evidence
  • Physiological impacts
  • Cellular mechanisms—oxidative stress, inflammatory pathways, particle uptake and fate, cell death, mutagenesis, etc.
  • Use and translational significance of existing and novel in vitro and in vivo toxicity testing models
  • Modelling and dosimetry

Prof. Teresa D. Tetley
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Respiratory system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Brain
  • Nervous system
  • Oxidative stress
  • Inflammatory signalling pathways
  • Mutagenesis
  • Dosimetry

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Novel Multi-Approach Protocol for the Characterization of Occupational Exposure to Organic Dust—Swine Production Case Study
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 25 December 2017 / Accepted: 25 December 2017 / Published: 27 December 2017
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Abstract
Swine production has been associated with health risks and workers’ symptoms. In Portugal, as in other countries, large-scale swine production involves several activities in the swine environment that require direct intervention, increasing workers’ exposure to organic dust. This study describes an updated protocol
[...] Read more.
Swine production has been associated with health risks and workers’ symptoms. In Portugal, as in other countries, large-scale swine production involves several activities in the swine environment that require direct intervention, increasing workers’ exposure to organic dust. This study describes an updated protocol for the assessment of occupational exposure to organic dust, to unveil an accurate scenario regarding occupational and environmental risks for workers’ health. The particle size distribution was characterized regarding mass concentration in five different size ranges (PM0.5, PM1, PM2.5, PM5, PM10). Bioburden was assessed, by both active and passive sampling methods, in air, on surfaces, floor covering and feed samples, and analyzed through culture based-methods and qPCR. Smaller size range particles exhibited the highest counts, with indoor particles showing higher particle counts and mass concentration than outdoor particles. The limit values suggested for total bacteria load were surpassed in 35.7% (10 out of 28) of samples and for fungi in 65.5% (19 out of 29) of samples. Among Aspergillus genera, section Circumdati was the most prevalent (55%) on malt extract agar (MEA) and Versicolores the most identified (50%) on dichloran glycerol (DG18). The results document a wide characterization of occupational exposure to organic dust on swine farms, being useful for policies and stakeholders to act to improve workers’ safety. The methods of sampling and analysis employed were the most suitable considering the purpose of the study and should be adopted as a protocol to be followed in future exposure assessments in this occupational environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using a Particle Counter to Inform the Creation of Similar Exposure Groups and Sampling Protocols in a Structural Steel Fabrication Facility
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 17 November 2017 / Published: 23 November 2017
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Abstract
The objective of this project was to create similar exposure groups (SEGs) for occupational monitoring in a structural steel fabrication facility. Qualitative SEG formation involved worksite observation, interviews, and audits of materials and procedures. These were supplemented with preliminary task-based shop survey data
[...] Read more.
The objective of this project was to create similar exposure groups (SEGs) for occupational monitoring in a structural steel fabrication facility. Qualitative SEG formation involved worksite observation, interviews, and audits of materials and procedures. These were supplemented with preliminary task-based shop survey data collected using a condensation particle counter. A total of six SEGs were formed, with recommendations for occupational exposure sampling for five groups, as well as ambient sampling recommendations to address areas on the operational floor found to have higher particle concentrations. The combination of direct reading device data and qualitative SEG formation techniques is a valuable approach, as it contains both the monetary and temporal costs of worksite exposure monitoring. This approach also provides an empowering in-house analysis of potentially problematic areas, and results in the streamlining of occupational exposure assessment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle High Risk Subgroups Sensitive to Air Pollution Levels Following an Emergency Medical Admission
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 4 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
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Abstract
For three cohorts (the elderly, socially deprived, and those with chronic disabling disease), the relationship between the concentrations of particulate matter (PM10), sulphur dioxide (SO2), or oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at the time of hospital admission and
[...] Read more.
For three cohorts (the elderly, socially deprived, and those with chronic disabling disease), the relationship between the concentrations of particulate matter (PM10), sulphur dioxide (SO2), or oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at the time of hospital admission and outcomes (30-day in-hospital mortality) were investigated All emergency admissions (90,423 episodes, recorded in 48,035 patients) between 2002 and 2015 were examined. PM10, SO2, and NOx daily levels from the hospital catchment area were correlated with the outcomes for the older admission cohort (>70 years), those of lower socio-economic status (SES), and with more disabling disease. Adjusted for acuity and complexity, the level of each pollutant on the day of admission independently predicted the 30-day mortality: for PM10–OR 1.11 (95% CI: 1.08, 1.15), SO2–1.20 (95% CI: 1.16, 1.24), and NOx–1.09 (1.06–1.13). For the older admission cohort (≥70 years), as admission day pollution increased (NOx quintiles) the 30-day mortality was higher in the elderly (14.2% vs. 11.3%: p < 0.001). Persons with a lower SES were at increased risk. Persons with more disabling disease also had worse outcomes on days with higher admission particulate matter (PM10 quintiles). Levels of pollutants on the day of admission of emergency medical admissions predicted 30-day hospital mortality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Do 16 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Represent PAH Air Toxicity?
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2558 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Estimation of carcinogenic potency based on analysis of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) ranked by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the most popular approach within scientific and environmental air quality management communities. The majority of PAH monitoring projects have been focused on
[...] Read more.
Estimation of carcinogenic potency based on analysis of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) ranked by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the most popular approach within scientific and environmental air quality management communities. The majority of PAH monitoring projects have been focused on particle-bound PAHs, ignoring the contribution of gas-phase PAHs to the toxicity of PAH mixtures in air samples. In this study, we analyzed the results of 13 projects in which 88 PAHs in both gas and particle phases were collected from different sources (biomass burning, mining operation, and vehicle emissions), as well as in urban air. The aim was to investigate whether 16 particle-bound U.S. EPA priority PAHs adequately represented health risks of inhalation exposure to atmospheric PAH mixtures. PAH concentrations were converted to benzo(a)pyrene-equivalent (BaPeq) toxicity using the toxic equivalency factor (TEF) approach. TEFs of PAH compounds for which such data is not available were estimated using TEFs of close isomers. Total BaPeq toxicities (∑88BaPeq) of gas- and particle-phase PAHs were compared with BaPeq toxicities calculated for the 16 particle-phase EPA PAH (∑16EPABaPeq). The results showed that 16 EPA particle-bound PAHs underrepresented the carcinogenic potency on average by 85.6% relative to the total (gas and particle) BaPeq toxicity of 88 PAHs. Gas-phase PAHs, like methylnaphthalenes, may contribute up to 30% of ∑88BaPeq. Accounting for other individual non-EPA PAHs (i.e., benzo(e)pyrene) and gas-phase PAHs (i.e., naphthalene, 1- and 2-methylnaphthalene) will make the risk assessment of PAH-containing air samples significantly more accurate. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Revelation of Different Nanoparticle-Uptake Behavior in Two Standard Cell Lines NIH/3T3 and A549 by Flow Cytometry and Time-Lapse Imaging
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 19 July 2017
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Abstract
The uptake of nanomaterials into different cell types is a central pharmacological issue for the determination of nanotoxicity as well as for the development of drug delivery strategies. Most responses of the cells depend on their intracellular interactions with nanoparticles (NPs). Uptake behavior
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The uptake of nanomaterials into different cell types is a central pharmacological issue for the determination of nanotoxicity as well as for the development of drug delivery strategies. Most responses of the cells depend on their intracellular interactions with nanoparticles (NPs). Uptake behavior can be precisely investigated in vitro, with sensitive high throughput methods such as flow cytometry. In this study, we investigated two different standard cell lines, human lung carcinoma (A549) and mouse fibroblast (NIH/3T3) cells, regarding their uptake behavior of titanium dioxide NPs. Cells were incubated with different concentrations of TiO2 NPs and samples were taken at certain time points to compare the uptake kinetics of both cell lines. Samples were analyzed with the help of flow cytometry by studying changes in the side and forward scattering signal. To additionally enable a detection via fluorescence, NPs were labeled with the fluorescent dye fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) and propidium iodide (PI). We found that NIH/3T3 cells take up the studied NPs more efficiently than A549 cells. These findings were supported by time-lapse microscopic imaging of the cells incubated with TiO2 NPs. Our results confirm that the uptake behavior of individual cell types has to be considered before interpreting any results of nanomaterial studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Characterization of Aerosols of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Following Three Generation Methods Using an Optimized Aerosolization System Designed for Experimental Inhalation Studies
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 10 June 2017 / Published: 1 July 2017
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Abstract
Nanoparticles (NPs) can be released in the air in work settings, but various factors influence the exposure of workers. Controlled inhalation experiments can thus be conducted in an attempt to reproduce real-life exposure conditions and assess inhalation toxicology. Methods exist to generate aerosols,
[...] Read more.
Nanoparticles (NPs) can be released in the air in work settings, but various factors influence the exposure of workers. Controlled inhalation experiments can thus be conducted in an attempt to reproduce real-life exposure conditions and assess inhalation toxicology. Methods exist to generate aerosols, but it remains difficult to obtain nano-sized and stable aerosols suitable for inhalation experiments. The goal of this work was to characterize aerosols of titanium dioxide (TiO2) NPs, generated using a novel inhalation system equipped with three types of generators—a wet collision jet nebulizer, a dry dust jet and an electrospray aerosolizer—with the aim of producing stable aerosols with a nano-diameter average (<100 nm) and monodispersed distribution for future rodent exposures and toxicological studies. Results showed the ability of the three generation systems to provide good and stable dispersions of NPs, applicable for acute (continuous up to 8 h) and repeated (21-day) exposures. In all cases, the generated aerosols were composed mainly of small aggregates/agglomerates (average diameter <100 nm) with the electrospray producing the finest (average diameter of 70–75 mm) and least concentrated aerosols (between 0.150 and 2.5 mg/m3). The dust jet was able to produce concentrations varying from 1.5 to 150 mg/m3, and hence, the most highly concentrated aerosols. The nebulizer collision jet aerosolizer was the most versatile generator, producing both low (0.5 mg/m3) and relatively high concentrations (30 mg/m3). The three optimized generators appeared suited for possible toxicological studies of inhaled NPs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cytotoxic and Inflammatory Potential of Air Samples from Occupational Settings with Exposure to Organic Dust
Received: 22 December 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1338 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Organic dust and related microbial exposures are the main inducers of several respiratory symptoms. Occupational exposure to organic dust is very common and has been reported in diverse settings. In vitro tests using relevant cell cultures can be very useful for characterizing the
[...] Read more.
Organic dust and related microbial exposures are the main inducers of several respiratory symptoms. Occupational exposure to organic dust is very common and has been reported in diverse settings. In vitro tests using relevant cell cultures can be very useful for characterizing the toxicity of complex mixtures present in the air of occupational environments such as organic dust. In this study, the cell viability and the inflammatory response, as measured by the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) and interleukin-1 β (IL-1β), were determined in human macrophages derived from THP-1 monocytic cells. These cells were exposed to air samples from five occupational settings known to possess high levels of contamination of organic dust: poultry and swine feed industries, waste sorting, poultry production and slaughterhouses. Additionally, fungi and particle contamination of those settings was studied to better characterize the organic dust composition. All air samples collected from the assessed workplaces caused both cytotoxic and pro-inflammatory effects. The highest responses were observed in the feed industry, particularly in swine feed production. This study emphasizes the importance of measuring the organic dust/mixture effects in occupational settings and suggests that differences in the organic dust content may result in differences in health effects for exposed workers. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Evidence of Biomass Smoke Exposure as a Causative Factor for the Development of COPD
Received: 3 October 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (588 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease of the lungs characterised by chronic inflammation, obstruction of airways, and destruction of the parenchyma (emphysema). These changes gradually impair lung function and prevent normal breathing. In 2002, COPD was the fifth leading cause
[...] Read more.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease of the lungs characterised by chronic inflammation, obstruction of airways, and destruction of the parenchyma (emphysema). These changes gradually impair lung function and prevent normal breathing. In 2002, COPD was the fifth leading cause of death, and is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to become the third by 2020. Cigarette smokers are thought to be the most at risk of developing COPD. However, recent studies have shown that people with life-long exposure to biomass smoke are also at high risk of developing COPD. Most common in developing countries, biomass fuels such as wood and coal are used for cooking and heating indoors on a daily basis. Women and children have the highest amounts of exposures and are therefore more likely to develop the disease. Despite epidemiological studies providing evidence of the causative relationship between biomass smoke and COPD, there are still limited mechanistic studies on how biomass smoke causes, and contributes to the progression of COPD. This review will focus upon why biomass fuels are used, and their relationship to COPD. It will also suggest methodological approaches to model biomass exposure in vitro and in vivo. Full article
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Open AccessReview Fate of Chloromethanes in the Atmospheric Environment: Implications for Human Health, Ozone Formation and Depletion, and Global Warming Impacts
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (251 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Among the halogenated hydrocarbons, chloromethanes (i.e., methyl chloride, CH3Cl; methylene chloride, CH2Cl2; chloroform, CHCl3; and carbon tetrachloride, CCl4) play a vital role due to their extensive uses as solvents and chemical intermediates. This
[...] Read more.
Among the halogenated hydrocarbons, chloromethanes (i.e., methyl chloride, CH3Cl; methylene chloride, CH2Cl2; chloroform, CHCl3; and carbon tetrachloride, CCl4) play a vital role due to their extensive uses as solvents and chemical intermediates. This article aims to review their main chemical/physical properties and commercial/industrial uses, as well as the environment and health hazards posed by them and their toxic decomposition products. The environmental properties (including atmospheric lifetime, radiative efficiency, ozone depletion potential, global warming potential, photochemical ozone creation potential, and surface mixing ratio) of these chlorinated methanes are also reviewed. In addition, this paper further discusses their atmospheric fates and human health implications because they are apt to reside in the lower atmosphere when released into the environment. According to the atmospheric degradation mechanism, their toxic degradation products in the troposphere include hydrogen chloride (HCl), carbon monoxide (CO), chlorine (Cl2), formyl chloride (HCOCl), carbonyl chloride (COCl2), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Among them, COCl2 (also called phosgene) is a powerful irritating gas, which is easily hydrolyzed or thermally decomposed to form hydrogen chloride. Full article
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