Sadiktis, I., Nilsson, G., Johansson, U., Rannug, U., Westerholm, R.

Removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and genotoxic compounds in urban air using air filter materials for mechanical ventilation in buildings

Science and Technology for the Built Environment (2016) 00, 1–10
ISSN: 2374-4731 print / 2374-474X online
DOI: 10.1080/23744731.2016.1152155


Humans spend most of their lives in indoor environments; hence, indoor exposure to air pollution may constitute a large part of the total exposure to air pollution. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are well known for their mutagenicity and carcinogenicity and are ubiquitous in urban environments as a result of combustion from e.g. vehicular traffic. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated to air particulate matter in indoor environments originates from several sources including: cooking and heating, outdoor sources, smoking, candle and incense burning. Infiltration has been suspected to be one major source of indoor polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In this study, four different air filter materials intended for mechanical ventilation were tested for their capability to remove particle bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other genotoxic compounds from a real urban aerosol. Particles were sampled at two highly trafficked locations in Stockholm using a sampling system capable of sample particles in parallel, thus allowing sampling of filtered and un-filtered air simultaneously. The sampled particles were extracted and analysed for polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons and the genotoxicity of the organic extract was determined using Ames mutagenicity tests. Each air filters capability of removing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and reducing genotoxic effects was determined by comparing the filtered and un-filtered
air samples. The results showed that all air filter materials had the capability of removing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and reduce genotoxic effects downstream the air filter, and that the magnitude of the reduction was correlated with the standardized particulate
collection efficiencies of a 0.4 μm particles for the tested air filter materials. However, the filter with the lowest performance did not significantly reduce direct acting mutagens.