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Elemental composition and oxidative properties of PM2.5 in Estonia in relation to origin of air masses: results from the ECRHS II in Tartu
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Department of Public Health, University of Tartu, Ravila 19, Tartu 50411, Estonia.
Estonian University of Life Sciences.
University of Tartu.
Archimedes Foundation.
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2010 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 408, no 7, 1515-1522 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) was sampled at an urban background site in Tartu, Estonia over one-year period during the ECRHS II study. The elemental composition of 71 PM2.5 samples was analyzed for different chemical elements using energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (ED-XRF). The oxidative activity of 36 samples was assessed by measuring their ability to generate hydroxyl radicals in the presence of hydrogen peroxide.

The origin of air masses was determined by computing 96-hour back trajectories of air masses with the HYSPLIT Model. The trajectories of air masses were divided into four sectors according to geographical patterns: “Russia,” “Eastern Europe,” “Western Europe,” and “Scandinavia.”

During the study period, approximately 30% of air masses originated from “Scandinavia.”  The other three sectors had slightly lower values (between 18 and 22%). In spring, summer, and winter, higher total PM levels originated from air masses from continental areas, namely “Russia” and “Eastern Europe” (18.51±7.33 and 19.96±9.23 μgm-3, respectively). In autumn, the PM levels were highest in “Western Europe”. High levels of Fe, Ti, and AlCaSi (Al, Ca, Si) were also detected in air masses from the Eurasian continent. The oxidative properties were correlated to the origin of air masses. The ∙OH values were approximately 1.5 times higher when air masses originated from the direction of “Eastern Europe” or “Russia.”

The origin of measured particles was evaluated using principal compo­nent factor analysis. When comparing the PM2.5 elemental composition with seasonal variation, factor scores, and other studies, the factors represent: (1) combustion of biomass; (2) crustal dust; (3) traffic; and (4) power plants and industrial processes associated with oil burning.

The total PM2.5 is driven mainly by biomass and industrial combustion (63%) and other unidentified sources (23%). Other sources of PM, such as crustal dust and traffic, contribute a total of 13%.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2010. Vol. 408, no 7, 1515-1522 p.
Keyword [en]
Particulate matter, composition, trajectories, air masses, oxidative properties, health
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29768DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.12.006ISI: 000275970800005OAI: diva2:277988
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exposure to particulate matter and the related health impacts in major Estonian cities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exposure to particulate matter and the related health impacts in major Estonian cities
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Particulate matter (PM) is one of the most studied and problematic pollutants due to its toxicity and relati­vely high concentrations. This thesis aims to clarify the main sources and exposures of PM in Tallinn and Tartu, study the associations with health effects, and estimate the extent of those effects with health impact assessment (HIA).

It appeared that the main sources of particulate air pollution in Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) and Tartu (the second largest city of Estonia) are local heating and traffic, inclu­ding road dust. In addition to local emissions, particulate levels are affected by transboundary pollution. If the transboundary air masses originated from the Eastern European areas, the concentration as well as the oxidative capacity of fine particles was significantly higher in urban background air in Tartu compared to air masses coming from Scandinavian areas (Paper I).

During the last 15 years, traffic increase has been very fast in Tartu. However, due to the improvement in vehicle technology during this period, there has been only a slight increase in concentration of exhaust particles (Paper II). Nevertheless, a greater increase in road dust emissions was detected.

A statistically significant relationship between long-term exposure to those traffic induced par­tic­les and cardiac disease in the RHINE (Respiratory Health in Northern Europe) Tartu cohort was shown (Paper III). However, no significant associations with respira­tory health were found.

The HIA in Tallinn demonstrated 296 (95% CI = 76–528) premature deaths annually, because of PM (Paper IV). The average decrease in life expectancy was predicted to be 0.64 (95% CI 0.17–1.10) years. However, among risk groups it can be higher. In addi­tion, several cardiovascular hospitalizations are related. The costs to society be­cause of health effects reach up to €150 million annually (95% CI = 40–260) from pre­mature deaths and hospitali­zation constitute an additional €0.3 million (95% CI = 0.2–0.4).

The special HIA scenario, when more pollution fuel peat will be used in boiler houses was analysed as well (Paper V). It indicated that peat bur­ning would result in up to 55.5 YLL per year within the population of Tartu. However, the health effects of pollution from current traffic, local heating, and industry are at least 28 times bigger.

In conclusion, exposure to PM cause considerable health effects in the form of cardio­pulmo­nary diseases in main Estonian cities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2009. 68 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1314
Particulate matter, traffic, health impact assessment, cardiopulmonary
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29769 (URN)978-91-7264-905-7 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2009-12-15, Sal B, 1D NUS 9tr, Umeå University, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-11-26 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved

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