Lung burden and deposition distribution of inhaled atmospheric urban ultrafine particles as the first step in their health risk assessment

Imre Salma, Péter Füri, Zoltán Németh, Imre Balásházy, Werner Hofmann, Árpád Farkas

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Realistic median particle number size distributions were derived by a differential mobility particle sizer in a diameter range of 6-1000nm for near-city background, city centre, street canyon and road tunnel environments in Budapest. Deposition of inhaled particles within airway generations of an adult woman was determined by a stochastic lung deposition model for sleeping, sitting, light and heavy exercise breathing conditions. Deposition fractions in the respiratory tract were considerable and constant for all physical activities with a mean of 56%. Mean deposition fraction in the extra-thoracic region averaged for the urban environments was decreasing monotonically from 26% for sleeping to 9.4% for heavy exercise. The mean deposition fractions in the tracheobronchial region were constant for the physical activities and urban environments with an overall mean of 12.5%, while the mean deposition fraction in the acinar region averaged for the urban locations increased monotonically with physical activity from 14.7% for sleeping to 34% for heavy exercise. The largest contribution of the acinar deposition to the lung deposition was 75%. The deposition rates in the lung were larger than in the extra-thoracic region, and the deposition rate in the lung was increasingly realised in the AC region by physical activity. It was the extra-thoracic region that received the largest surface density deposition rates; its loading was higher by 3 orders of magnitude than for the lung. Deposition fractions in the airway generations exhibited a distinct peak in the acinar region. The maximum of the curves was shifted to peripheral airway generations with physical activity. The shapes of the surface density deposition rate curves were completely different from those for the deposition rates, indicating that the first few airway generations received the highest surface loading in the lung.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2015



  • Exposure assessment
  • Nanoaerosol
  • Respiratory deposition
  • Stochastic lung deposition model
  • Surface density deposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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