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: New method allows for greater variation in band gap tunability

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Galaxy dust findings confound view of early Universe

15 hours ago

What was the Universe like at the beginning of time? How did the Universe come to be the way it is today?—big questions and huge attention paid when scientists attempt answers. So was the early-universe ...

Recommended for you

Pinholes are pitfalls for high performance solar cells

Jan 30, 2015

The most popular next-generation solar cells under development may have a problem – the top layer is full of tiny pinholes, researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University ...

Chemistry in a trillionth of a second

Jan 30, 2015

Chemists at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with colleagues at the Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) and Heriot-Watt University (HWU), can now follow chemical ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.