Particulate Air Pollution Research meets Nanomaterial Toxicology: Evidence for beyond the lung


140402 #Dia  Flemming Cassee ambasadeur innovatie RIVM Foto Tjitske SluisSpeaker: Flemming R. Cassee, PhD

Senior Inhalation Toxicologist,

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands

Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

Date: March 20, 2015

Time: 9:30-10:30pm

Place: 665 Huntington Ave,

Bldg. 1, Room 1302,

Boston, MA 02115


Abstract: Ambient particulate matter (PM) has been extensively studied in the past two decades because of the association of the level of PM and several markers for morbidity as well as premature death in the general population. Much has been done to clean up the air that we breathe and in most places standards for PM are met. There are still hot spots, such as busy traffic locations for which abatement measure need to be taken to further reduce the concentrations. Since the effects are still noted below current air quality standards, and the cost of reducing PM further are getting higher and higher, targeted research is needed to identify the most harmful constituents and the related sources of emissions. Of special interest are the ultrafine or nano-scale particles as they seem to contribute to the adverse health effects and are not well captured by current standards. The effects of nanoparticles may very well be observed in organs other than those that correspond to the port of entry – for example, the central nervous system. In light of different distribution patterns on inhalation and the likelihood that nanoparticles can escape natural defence mechanisms, such as phagocytosis, it is likely that this size fraction will also be linked to biological pathways and responses that differ from larger sized particles. Whether or not nanoparticles translocate is dependent on several factors including size and solubility. Small particles (<10nm) translocate with greater efficiency than large particles (<100nm). Soluble particles can directly diffuse across the lung membrane. While small soluble particles have been shown to translocate into the circulatory system, carbon core nanoparticles do not diffuse across the lung membranes to the same extent, although soluble coatings from them can. Examples for translocation to and adverse effects on the cardiovascular and central nervous system after inhalation exposure to nanoparticles will be presented.

Biographical Sketch: Flemming R. Cassee, PhD, is senior inhalation toxicologist at RIVM and is involved in the research on the adverse health effects of air pollution. He has written a number of scientific reports and articles in international journals and has presented several papers at international conferences. In addition, he serves in a number of international advisory committees. He is senior-scientific advisor on Inhalation Toxicology and leader of several projects on Ambient Particulate Matter and Health. Dr. Cassee is member of WHO and EU committees and invited reviewer of the US EPA and Health Effects Institute. He has a position as professor in inhalation toxicology at the Institute of Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. He has been active in toxicology for more than 20 years with a prime interest in the adverse health effects of air pollutants and inhaled nanomaterials.