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INCALO: Internal Black Carbon Loading: validation of a novel biomarker (R-9679)

Ambient air pollution, including black carbon, entails a serious public health risk because of its carcinogenic potential and as climate pollutant. Inhalation of fossil fuel-derived particulate matter (PM) is associated with a wide range of non-pulmonary health effects. Based on the WHO report of 2015 the European health annual costs of air pollution have been estimated to US$ 1.6 trillion. Although recent studies strongly suggest that particle translocation in biological systems is biologically plausible, they do not prove that ambient fossil fuel-derived carbonaceous nanoparticles enter the human systemic circulation in real-life conditions. We developed a novel method to detect carbonaceous nanoparticles in the urine of healthy children. The ERC funded ENVIRONAGE project already made a strong case for promoting urinary carbon detection to practice by demonstrating its usefulness as individual longterm exposure marker. Taking advantage of white-light generation by carbonaceous nanoparticles under femtosecond pulsed laser illumination, we demonstrated the presence of these particles in urine and its relation with the external environmental air pollution (Saenen et al. Am J Respir & Crit Care Med, in press). This pioneering study is of innovative value, as it paved the way for a non-invasive assessment of long-term individual exposure to one of the most toxic air pollutants, black carbon, and will be useful in epidemiological investigations, biomonitoring studies as well as in occupational settings. The aim of the INCALO (INternal black CArbon LOading) project is to promote the output of the ENVIRONAGE project towards a process for facilitation and commercialization of internal markers of exposure to black carbon.
Date:1 May 2019  →  31 Oct 2020
Keywords:Air pollution, Biomonitoring, Environmental epidemiology, exposomics