Health-related aerosol measurement: a review of existing sampling criteria and proposals for new ones
Interest in particle size-selective sampling for aerosols in working and ambient living environments began in the early 1900s when it became apparent that the penetration into—and deposition in—the respiratory tract of aerosol-exposed humans of inhaled particles was dependent on particle size. Coarse particles tended to be filtered out during inhalation and in the upper parts of the respiratory tract, so only progressively smaller particles penetrated down to the deep regions of the lung. Over time, following experimental studies with ‘breathing’ mannequins in wind tunnels and with human volunteer subjects in the laboratory, a clear picture has emerged of the physical, physiological and anatomical factors that control the extent to which particles may or may not reach certain parts of the respiratory tract. Such understanding has increasingly been the subject of discussions about aerosol standards, in particular the criteria by which exposure might be defined in relation to given classes of aerosol-related health effect—and in to turn aerosol monitoring. The ultimate goal has been to develop a set of criteria by which exposure standards are scientifically relevant to the health effects in question. This paper reviews the scientific basis for such criteria. It discusses the criteria that have already been widely discussed and so are either being applied or are on the threshold of practical application in standards. It also discusses how new advanced knowledge may allow us to extend the list of particle size-selective criteria to fractions that have not yet been widely discussed but which may be of importance in the future.