Skip to main content

Ultrafine particles (UFP) and health effects. Dangerous. Like no other PM? Review and analysis

  • Authors
    Politis M.
    Pilinis C.
    Lekkas T.
Abstract

The goal of the current review is to present and analyze the known information proposed and
discussed the last few years about UFP and their possible health effects. It includes
references from 1992 to 2008. It also includes references from some fundamental studies in
the 1970's and 1980's. The review and analysis of the health hazards induced by ultrafine
particle exposure focuses on the; classification and characteristics of suspended particulate
matter (PM), features and properties of PM and, specifically, ultrafine particles (UFP), the
UFP movement and translocation from exposure sources in the environment to the human
body and the ways of absorption and deposition within the human anatomy. Also, an
extensive review of epidemiological, clinical and toxicology studies concerning possible health
effects of UFP, is included. Finally, the most recent studies suggesting extrapulmonary effects
and, especially, on the brain and central nervous system. Results have shown that there is
significant analogy between UFP exposure and related adverse health effect risk in human
beings. Cardiovascular and pulmonary systems seem to be the main targets of this exposure.
New evidence shows accumulation of UFP in regions of the cerebellum, olfactory bulb and
other areas of the central nervous system.