An assessment of the inhalation bioaccessibility of platinum group elements in road dust using a simulated lung fluid.

Research paper by Clare L S CLS Wiseman, Jianjun J Niu, Christine C Levesque, Marc M Chénier, Pat E PE Rasmussen

Indexed on: 22 Jul '18Published on: 22 Jul '18Published in: Environmental Pollution


Metal enrichment of road dust is well characterized but available data on the bioaccessibility of metals in particle size fractions relevant to human respiratory health remain limited. The study goal was to investigate the bioaccessibility of platinum group elements (PGE), which are used as catalysts in automotive exhaust converters, in the inhalable fraction of road dust. Street sweepings were provided by the City of Toronto, Canada, collected as part of its Clean Roads to Clean Air program.The particle size relevance of road dust for inhalation exposures was confirmed using a laser diffraction particle size analyzer (mean Dx(50): 9.42 μm). Total PGE were determined in both bulk and inhalable fractions using nickel sulfide (NiS) fire-assay and instrumental neutron-activation analysis (INAA). PGE lung solubility was examined for the inhalable fraction using Gamble's extraction. Sample digests were co-precipitated with Te-Sn, to pre-concentrate and isolate PGE, prior to their measurement using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).Total PGE concentrations were enriched in the inhalable fraction of road sweepings. Geomean concentrations in the inhalable fraction were: palladium (Pd) (152 μg/kg), platinum (Pt) (55 μg/kg), rhodium (Rh) (21 μg/kg) and iridium (Ir) (0.23 μg/kg). Osmium (Os) concentrations were below the limit of detection (LOD). Bioaccessible PGEs (n = 16) using Gamble's solution were below LOD for Ir and ruthenium (Ru). For the remainder, the geomean % bioaccessibility was highest for platinum (16%), followed by rhodium (14%) and palladium (3.4%). This study provides evidence that PGE in road dust are bioaccessible in the human lung. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.