Airborne particulate matter (PM) was sampled by use of an electrostatic sampler in an oven hall and a receiving hall in a waste-incineration energy plant, and from urban air in a heavy-traffic street and from background air in Copenhagen. PM was sampled for 1–2 weeks, four samples at each site. The samples were extracted and examined for mutagenicity in Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98, YG1041 and YG5161, for content of inorganic elements and for the presence of eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The induction of IL-6 and IL-8 mRNA expression and the presence of DNA damage – tested by the comet assay – were determined after 24-h incubations with human A549 lung epithelial cells.
The PM2.5 concentration was about twofold greater in the oven hall than in the receiving hall. The particle size distribution in the receiving hall was similar to that in street air (maximum mode at about 25 nm), but the distribution was completely different in the oven hall (maximum mode at about 150 nm). Also chemically, the samples from the oven hall were highly different from the other samples.
PM extracts from the receiving hall, street and background air were more mutagenic than the PM extracts from the oven hall. PM from all four sites caused similar levels of DNA damage in A549 cells; only the oven hall samples gave results that were statistically significantly different from those obtained with street-air samples.
The receiving hall and the urban air samples were similarly inflammatory (relative IL-8 mRNA expression), whereas the oven hall did not cause a statistically significant increase in IL-8 mRNA expression. A principal component analysis separated the oven hall and the receiving hall by the first principal component. These two sites were separated from street and background air with the second principal component. Several clusters of constituents were identified. One cluster consisted of all the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), several groups of metals and one group of the biological endpoints (DNA damage, IL-6 and IL-8 mRNA expression). The PAH and the inorganic content of the air in the receiving hall may be due to vehicle emissions and suspended waste particles. The inorganic content in the street and background air may have been influenced by break wear, road emissions and long-range transport. The results from a partial least-square regression analysis predicted that both PAHs and a group of metals including Fe and Mn contributed to IL-6 and IL-8 induction. Only Mn and Sr were predicted to influence DNA damage statistically significantly. Among the PAHs only chrysene had influence on DNA damage.
The PM from the oven hall was markedly different from the PM at other locations in particle size distribution, chemical composition and the resulting biological effects when A549 cells were incubated with the PM. These characteristics and observations in the oven hall indicated that the PM source was oven exhaust, which was well combusted.
2007. Vol. 633, no 2, 95-111 p.
Urban air, Incineration energy plant, Genotoxicity, Inflammation, Chemical composition, Particle size distribution