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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Taiwan: Meteorological Conditions Regulate PM2.5 Toxicity in the Vicinity of a Petrochemical Complex

Taiwan researchers revealed that the deleterious air quality caused by the petrochemical complex should be a concern for surrounding residents’ health. This study was conducted by a research team led by Dean Chang-Chuan Chan from the National Taiwan University College of Public Health and was published in Environmental Pollution in May.

Researchers evaluated associations between the bioreactivity of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in human alveolar epithelial A549 cells and emission sources in the vicinity of a petrochemical complex (Taiwan). The average PM2.5 concentration was 30.2 ± 11.2 μg/m3 from 9 February to 23 March 2016, and the PM2.5 was clustered in long-range transport (12.8 ± 8.8 μg/m3), and major (17.3 ± 11.0 μg/m3) and minor industrial emissions (4.7 ± 3.8 μg/m3) using a k-means clustering model. A reduction in cell viability and increases in the cytotoxicity-related lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), oxidative stress-related 8-isoprostane, and inflammation-related interleukin (IL)-6 occurred due to PM2.5 in a dose-dependent manner. The PM2.5 from major industrial emissions was significantly correlated with increased 8-isoprostane and IL-6, but this was not observed for long-range transport or minor industrial emissions. The bulk metal concentration was 9.52 ± 0.66 ng/m3 in PM2.5.

Researchers further observed that As, Ba, Cd, and Se were correlated with LDH in the long-range transport group. Pb in PM2.5 from the major industrial emissions was correlated with LDH, whereas Pb and Se were correlated with 8-isoprostane. Sr was correlated with cell viability in the minor industrial emissions group.

This is the first study to integrate source apportion modeling with environmental toxicity to investigate particle bioreactivity in the vicinity of a petrochemical complex. The significance and novelty of this study was that we developed a new approach for determining environmental health by integration of source apportion modeling with environmental toxicity. These data indicate emissions of PM2.5 from the petrochemical complex contributed to increased oxidative stress and inflammation. In conclusion, the deleterious air quality caused by the petrochemical complex should be a concern for surrounding residents’ health.

Environ Pollut. 2018 May; 236:591-597. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.01.067. “Cluster analysis of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions and its bioreactivity in the vicinity of a petrochemical complex.” Chuang HC, Shie RH, Chio CP, Yuan TH, Lee JH, Chan CC