Subway dust may trigger lung damage

Oct 01, 2007
Subway dust may trigger lung damage
Dust produced by subway trains could potentially damage the lungs when inhaled. Credit: WMATA photo by Larry Levine

Subway trains produce airborne dust particles that could damage the lungs of commuters, scientists in France are reporting in a study of the Paris subway system scheduled for the October issue of ACS’ Chemical Research in Toxicology.

Sophie Lanone and colleagues point out that previous studies of the London and Stockholm subway systems also have identified such particulate matter. In their new study, the researchers collected dust samples from platform surfaces in two heavily traveled subway stations in the Paris Metro, which carried one million passengers daily. They exposed live mice and cultured mice cells to the dust over a 24-hour period.

Exposure to the subway dust triggered transient lung inflammation in the mice and increased levels of several substances produced by the immune system that might cause tissue damage. Some but not all effects occur with exposure to diesel exhaust, and other common urban air pollutants, the study said. Subway dust contained large amounts of iron particles and very low levels of endotoxin, a potentially toxic compound produced by bacteria.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first evaluation of the biological effects of particulate matter from the Paris subway system as well as the first comprehensive study to evaluate the in vivo effect of subway particulate matter,” the report states.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Computer program could help solve arson cases

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Jacket works like a mobile phone

28 minutes ago

A fire is raging in a large building and the fire leader is sending a message to all firefighters at the scene. But they don't need a mobile phone – they simply check their jacket sleeves and read the message ...

Field study shows how sailfish use their bill to catch fish

8 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —A large team of European researchers has finally revealed the purpose of the long, thin, needle-like bill sported by the famous sailfish. It's used, they report in their paper published in Proceedings of ...

Cell division speed influences gene architecture

38 minutes ago

Speed-reading is a technique used to read quickly. It involves visual searching for clues to meaning and skipping non-essential words and/ or sentences. Similarly to humans, biological systems are sometimes ...

Recommended for you

Computer program could help solve arson cases

8 hours ago

Sifting through the chemical clues left behind by arson is delicate, time-consuming work, but University of Alberta researchers teaming with RCMP scientists in Canada, have found a way to speed the process.

New method to analyse how cancer cells die

18 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A team from The University of Manchester – part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre - have found a new method to more efficiently manufacture a chemical used to monitor cancer cells.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Computer program could help solve arson cases

Sifting through the chemical clues left behind by arson is delicate, time-consuming work, but University of Alberta researchers teaming with RCMP scientists in Canada, have found a way to speed the process.

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...