Fifteen years of nuclear techniques application to suspended particulate matter studies
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Acute and chronic exposures to Airborne Particulate Matter (APM) have been linked, in epidemiological studies, to increased mortality and to a wide spectrum of respiratory and cardiovascular disorders. One factor that highly influences the toxicity of APM is its chemical composition. Nuclear Analytical Techniques (NATs) can be advantageously used in the determination of the particles element composition due to their multielement capability in association with low detection limits. Therefore, the characterization of APM by these techniques contributes to the identification of emission sources and, consequently, to the assessment of the effectiveness of the current air pollution abatement strategies. The main goal of this paper was to present the achievements obtained within 15 years of activities related with the use of NATs on the analysis of APM sampled in outdoor, indoor and industrial environments. The results presented in this work confirmed the relevance of NATs as efficient analytical techniques not only in the characterization of APM, but also in source apportionment, identification of long range transport and health assessment studies.
KeywordsNuclear techniques INAA PIXE Aerosols Environment Industry Indoor
We gratefully acknowledge Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) for funding S.M. Almeida by Ciencia 2007 programme and the projects PTDC/AAC-AMB/098825/2008, PTDC/AMB/65828/2006 and PTDC/SAU-ESA/65597/2006.
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