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Selective Collection of Airborne Particulate Matter

Category: Focus

Volume: 18 | Issue: 6 | Pages: 1361-1365
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.02.0076

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Meng-Dawn Cheng

  • Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA


Selection of particles in environmental sampling could enhance detection signal.
Examples were used to highlight current practices of selective particle collection.
Magnetic separation is a practical means of particle selection.
Atmospheric fate and transport modeling can facilitate particle sampler design.
UAV sampling can achieve smart collection of otherwise undetectable particles.


Airborne particulate matter (PM) or aerosol particles or simply aerosol are ubiquitous in the environment. They originate from natural processes such as wind erosion, road dust, forest fire, ocean spray and volcanic eruption, and man-made sources consuming fossil fuels resulting from utility power generation and transportation, and numerous industrial processes. Aerosols affect our daily life in many ways; PM reduces visibility in many polluted metropolitan areas, adversely impact human health and local air quality around the world (Tang et al., 1981; Mage et al., 1996; Molina and Molina, 2004; Davidson et al., 2005; Baklanov et al., 2016). Aerosol alters cloud cycles and change atmospheric radiation balance (Seinfeld and Pandis, 2000; Lohmann and Feichter, 2005; Flossmann and Wobrock, 2010; Rosenfeld et al., 2014; Seinfeld et al., 2016). Changes in daily mortality associated with particulate air pollution were typically estimated at approximately 0.5–1.5% per 10 µg m–3 increase in PM10 concentrations (Pope, 2000). Laden et al. (2006) found “an increase in overall mortality associated with each 10 µg m–3 increase in PM2.5 concentration either as the overall mean (rate ratio [RR], 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07–1.26) or as exposure in the year of death (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.06–1.22). PM2.5 exposure was associated with lung cancer (RR, 1.27; 95% CI, 0.96–1.69) and cardiovascular deaths (RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.13–1.44). Improved overall mortality was associated with decreased mean PM2.5 (10 µg m–3) between periods (RR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.57–0.95)”. Aerosol particles also play an important role in source identification and apportionment (e.g., Hopke, 2016; Varga et al., 2017). Since the PM problem is associated with many facets of societal issues such as energy production and economic development, making progress on reducing the effects of PM will require integrated strategies that bring together scientists, engineers and decision makers from different disciplines to consider tradeoffs.


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