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Inhalation Health Risk Assessment of Human Tracheobronchial Tree under PM Exposure in a Bus Stop Scene

Category: Air Pollution and Health Effects

Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.09.0343

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Xiaoyu Xu1,2,3, Yidan Shang2, Lin Tian 2, Wenguo Weng1, Jiyuan Tu 2,3,4

  • 1 Institute of Public Safety Research, Department of Engineering Physics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 2 School of Engineering – Mechanical and Automotive, RMIT University, Bundoora, VIC 3082, Australia
  • 3 School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
  • 4 Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Advanced Reactor Engineering and Safety, Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China


  • Risk assessment of PM exposure was performed in a nasal-oral-tracheobronchial airway model.
  • 10 nm–1 µm particles can induce higher potential for lung disease than other sized particles.
  • Risk factors of the left, right, and 5 lung lobes were estimated.
  • Cr posed a higher chance for developing lung diseases than Ni and Mn.
  • Mn is considered more hazardous for human upper airway than Cr and Ni.


Inhalation exposure of airborne particulate matter (PM) could induce respiratory\cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer in population. Understanding the detailed particle deposition distribution in the human tracheobronchial tree is of great value for evaluating the inhalation health risk. An integrated human nasal–oral–tracheobronchial airway model was employed to study the particle deposition in human tracheobronchial regions. Empirical equations for predicting lung lobe risk contribution fractions were developed. The risk contribution of each lobe to non-carcinogenesis and carcinogenesis was predicted using prior experimental data at a bus stop. The regional inhalation health risk assessment was analyzed by evaluating the hazard quotient (HQ) and excess lifetime cancer risk (ELCR) of the selected non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic elements (Cr, Mn, Ni). Fine particles (10 nm–1 μm) comprise the highest risk contribution fractions in lung lobes, inducing higher potential health consequences in the lungs than the other size particles. Cr posed potential lung carcinogenic risks for people who commuted by public transport, with the ELCR in each lobe all exceeding the recommended limits. The chances of non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks of the right lung were 1.5 times that of the left lung. In lung lobes, the RLL posed the highest risk potential, followed by LLL, RUL, LUL, and RML. Inhalation exposure to Cr posed a much higher risk in the lung than exposure to Ni and Mn. On the other hand, Mn could potentially induce a higher chance to develop human upper airway diseases than the other two elements.


Tracheobronchial airway Particulate matter Chemical composition Inhalation assessment Lung lobe deposition

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