Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Metal Duo Damages Lungs: Lead and Manganese in Fine Particulates

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Metal Duo Damages Lungs: Lead and Manganese in Fine Particulates

Article excerpt

Extensive evidence indicates that fine particulates can damage human lungs. But much remains unknown about exactly which components of these particulates are to blame. In a small study of Korean children, researchers have found that two metals, lead and manganese, are among the substances likely at fault [EHP 115:430-434; Hong et al.].

To pin down the particulate culprits, the researchers evaluated 43 children who attended school on an island near Incheon City. The island has low traffic density and industrial emissions, but concentrations of fine particulates 2.5 [micro]m in diameter or smaller were relatively high by U.S. standards, perhaps owing to natural sources or dust from China or Mongolia. The mean of 20.27 [micro]g/[m.sup.3] measured during the six-week study period was about one-third higher than the U.S. annual standard.

After an introductory period during which the children (median age 10) learned how to use a peak expiratory flow meter to measure their lung function, each child used the device at three fixed times every day. Meanwhile, the researchers sampled fine particulates every day on the roof of a building 2 km from the school and analyzed the concentration of five metals: aluminum, iron, lead, manganese, and zinc. Previous studies have shown these metals might play either beneficial or harmful roles when present in particulates. …

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