Characterization of airborne PAHs and metals associated with PM10 fractions collected from an urban area of Sri Lanka and the impact on airway epithelial cells.

Abstract Airborne particulate matter (PM), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals (HMs) are significant contributors leading to many human health issues. Thus, this study was designed to perform chemical analysis and biological impact of airborne particulate matter 10 (PM10) in the World heritage City of Kandy City in Sri Lanka. 12 priority PAHs and 34 metals, including 10 highly toxic HMs were quantified. The biological effects of organic extracts were assayed using an in vitro primary porcine airway epithelial cell culture model. Cytotoxicity, DNA damage, and gene expressions of selected inflammatory and cancer-related genes were also assessed. Results showed that the total PAHs ranged from 3.062 to 36.887 ng/m3. The metals were dominated by Na > Ca > Mg > Al > K > Fe > Ti, while a few toxic HMs were much higher in the air than the existing ambient air quality standards. In the bioassays, a significant cytotoxicity (p
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