Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 170, Issue 1–4, pp 331–343 | Cite as

Exposure assessment in Beijing, China: biological agents, ultrafine particles, and lead

  • Shuofei Dong
  • Maosheng Yao


In this study, air samples were taken using a BioSampler and gelatin filters from six sites in Beijing: office, hospital, student dormitory, train station, subway, and a commercial street. Dust samples were also collected using a surface sampler from the same environments. Limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) and Glucatell assays were used to quantify sample endotoxin and (1,3)-\({\rm{\beta}} \)-d-glucan concentration levels, respectively. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to measure the dust mite allergens (Der p 1 and Der f 1). Ultrafine particle and lead concentrations in these sampling sites were also measured using P-Trak and atomic absorption spectrometer, respectively. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and linear regression analysis were used to analyze the concentration data. Higher culturable bacteria (12,639 CFU/m3) and fungi (1,806 CFU/m3) concentrations were observed for the train station and the subway system, respectively. For the rest of sampling sites, their concentrations were comparable to those found in western countries, ranging from 990 to 2,276 CFU/m3 for bacteria, and from 119 to 269 CFU/m3 for fungi. ANOVA analysis indicated that there were statistically significant differences between the culturable bacterial and fungal concentration levels obtained for different sites (p value = 0.0001 and 0.0047). As for dust allergens, endotoxin, and (1,3)-β -d-glucan, their concentrations also seemed to be comparable to those found in the developed countries. Airborne allergen concentrations ranged from 16 to 68 ng/m3. The dust-borne allergen concentration was observed to range from 0.063 to 0.327 ng/mg. As for endotoxin, the highest airborne concentration of 25.24 ng/m3 was observed for the commercial street, and others ranged from 0.0427 to 0.1259 ng/m3. And dust-borne endotoxin concentration ranged from 58.83 to 6,427.4 ng/mg. For (1,3)-β -d-glucan, the airborne concentration ranged from 0.02 to 1.2 ng/m3. Linear regression analyses showed that there existed poor correlations between those in airborne and dust-borne states (R2 = 0.002~0.43). In our study, the lowest ultrafine particle concentration about 5,203 pt/cm3 was observed in office and the highest was observed at the train station, up to 32,783 pt/cm3. Lead concentration was shown to range from 80 to 170 ng/mg with the highest also observed at the train station. The information provided in this work can be used to learn the general situation of relevant health risks in Beijing. And the results here suggested that when characterizing exposure both airborne and dust-borne as well as the environments should be considered.


Biological agents Ultrafine particles Lead Beijing ELISA Glucatell LAL 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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