Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2013 Sep 23;20(9):6496-508. Epub 2013 Apr 23.
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Socinstrasse 57, P.O. Box, 4002, Basel, Switzerland.
Although trans-Alpine highway traffic exhaust is one of the major sources of air pollution along the highway valleys of the Alpine regions, little is known about its contribution to residential exposure and impact on respiratory health. In this paper, source-specific contributions to particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < 10 μm (PM10) and their spatio-temporal distribution were determined for later use in a pediatric asthma panel study in an Alpine village. PM10 sources were identified by positive matrix factorization using chemical trace elements, elemental, and organic carbon from daily PM10 filters collected between November 2007 and June 2009 at seven locations within the village. Of the nine sources identified, four were directly road traffic-related: traffic exhaust, road dust, tire and brake wear, and road salt contributing 16 %, 8 %, 1 %, and 2 % to annual PM10 concentrations, respectively. They showed a clear dependence with distance to highway. Additional contributions were identified from secondary particles (27 %), biomass burning (18 %), railway (11 %), and mineral dust including a local construction site (13 %). Comparing these source contributions with known source-specific biomarkers (e.g., levoglucosan, nitro-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) showed high agreement with biomass burning, moderate with secondary particles (in winter), and lowest agreement with traffic exhaust.