The Air Pollution Exposure Laboratory (APEL) for controlled human exposure to diesel exhaust and other inhalants: characterization and comparison to existing facilities

Nicholas Birger, Timothy Gould, James Stewart, Mark R Miller, Timothy Larson, Chris Carlsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The Air Pollution Exposure Laboratory (APEL) was designed for the controlled inhalation of human subjects to aged and diluted diesel exhaust (DE) to mimic "real-world" occupational and environmental conditions.

METHODS: An EPA Tier 3-compliant, 6.0 kW diesel generator is operated under discrete cyclic loads to simulate diesel on-road emissions. The engine accepts standard ultra-low sulfur diesel or a variety of alternative fuels (such as biodiesel) via a partitioned tank. A portion of raw exhaust is drawn into the primary dilution system and is diluted 9:1 with compressed air at standard temperature (20°C) and humidity (40%) levels. The exhaust is further diluted approximately 25:1 by high efficiency particulate air (HEPA)-filtered air (FA) and then aged for 4 min before entering the 4 × 6 × 7-foot exposure booth. An optional HEPA filter path immediately proximal to the booth can generate a particle-reduced (gas-enriched) exposure. In-booth particulate is read by a nephelometer to provide an instantaneous light scattering coefficient for closed-loop system control. A Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer and multi-stage impactor measures particle size distribution. Filter sampling allows determination of sessional average concentrations of size-fractionated and unfractionated particulate oxidative potential, elemental carbon, organic carbon and trace elements.

RESULTS: Approximately 300 μg/m(3) PM(2.5) is routinely achievable at APEL and is well characterized in terms of oxidative potential and elemental components.

CONCLUSION: APEL efficiently creates fresh DE, appropriately aged and diluted for human experimentation at safe yet realistic concentrations. Description of exposure characteristics allows comparison to other international efforts to deepen the current evidence base regarding the health effects of DE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-25
Number of pages7
JournalInhalation Toxicology
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • Air Pollution
  • Atmosphere Exposure Chambers
  • Biofuels
  • Carbon
  • Compressed Air
  • Filtration
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Laboratories
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter
  • Sulfur
  • Vehicle Emissions

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Air Pollution Exposure Laboratory (APEL) for controlled human exposure to diesel exhaust and other inhalants: characterization and comparison to existing facilities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this