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Lung-deposited dose of particulate matter from residential exposure to smoke from wood burning

Vicente Estela D., Alves Célia A., Martins Vânia, Almeida Susana Marta, Lazaridis Michail

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Year 2021
Type of Item Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication
Bibliographic Citation E. D. Vicente, C. A. Alves, V. Martins, S. M. Almeida, and M. Lazaridis, “Lung-deposited dose of particulate matter from residential exposure to smoke from wood burning,” Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res., vol. 28, no. 46, pp. 65385–65398, Dec. 2021, doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-15215-4.
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Residential settings are of utmost importance for human exposure, as it is where people spend most of their time. Residential wood combustion is a widespread practice known as a source of indoor particulate matter (PM). Nevertheless, research on the risks of exposure associated with this source is scarce, and a better understanding of respiratory deposition of smoke particles is needed. The dosimetry model ExDoM2 was applied to determine the deposited dose of inhalable particulate matter (PM10) from residential biomass combustion in the human respiratory tract (HRT) of adults and children. The dose was estimated using PM10 exposure concentrations obtained from a field campaign carried out in two households during the operation of an open fireplace and a woodstove. Simultaneously, PM10 levels were monitored outside to investigate the outdoor dose in a rural area strongly impacted by biomass burning emissions. Indoors, the 8-h average PM10 concentrations ranged from 88.3 to 489 μg m−3 and from 69.4 to 122 μg m−3 for the operation of the fireplace and the woodstove, respectively, while outdoor average PM10 concentrations ranged from 17.3 to 94.2 μg m−3. The highest amount of the deposited particles was recorded in the extrathoracic region (68–79%), whereas the deposition was much lower in the tracheobronchial tree (5–6%) and alveolar–interstitial region (16–21%). The total dose received while using the fireplace was more than twofold the one received in the room with a woodstove and more than 10 times higher than in the absence of the source. Overall, indoor doses were higher than the ones received by a subject exposed outdoors, especially at the alveolar–interstitial region. After 24 h of exposure, it was estimated that approximately 35 to 37% of the particles deposited in the HRT were transferred to the gastrointestinal tract, while approximately 2.0–2.5% were absorbed into the blood. The results from exposure and dose of indoor particles gathered in this work suggest that homeowners should be encouraged to upgrade the wood burning technology to reduce the PM levels inside their residences. This study also provides biologically relevant results on the lung deposition of particles from residential biomass burning that can be used as a reference for future research.