Airborne interactions between viruses and PM2.5 as an unexplored modifier of viral viability

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Millions of people die each year from long-term exposure to fine particulate matter, classified as PM2.5. Studies have also shown a correlation between influenza-like illness and increased PM2.5. Although it’s well known that microorganisms exist in particulate matter (bioaerosols), the infectivity of viruses when they interact with particulate matter is relatively unknown. At the SOCAAR Seminar on March 7, Dr. Nicolas Groulx, a Postdoctoral Intern in the Department of Microbiology & Division of Infectious Diseases at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Research Institute and the University of Toronto, spoke about the effects of environmental pollutants on the infectivity of viruses in the air. Continue reading

Measurements and Modeling of Ultrafine Particulate Matter in California

Photo source: Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division

Toxicological studies have consistently found that ultrafine particles are potentially harmful. Yet only recent epidemiological studies have been able to link ultrafine particles to negative public health effects. The difficulty in finding effects in epidemiological studies may be in part because of the population exposure metrics used in previous studies. In the December 2 SOCAAR Seminar Dr. Michael J. Kleeman, a professor at UC Davis’ Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, presented 15 years of research on the measurements and modeling of ultrafine particular matter in California. Continue reading