Characterization and in vitro biological effects of ambient air PM10 from a rural, an industrial and an urban site in Sulaimani City, Iraq

High urban atmospheric pollution is caused by economic and industrial growth, especially in developing countries. The objective of this study was to assess possible relationships between in vitro effects on human alveolar epithelial cells of source-related dust types collected at Sulaimani City (Iraq), and to determine their mineralogical and chemical composition. A passive sampler was used to collect dust particles at a rural, an industrial and an urban sampling site during July and August 2014. The samples were size-fractionated by a low-pressure impactor to obtain respirable dust with aerodynamic diameters of less than 10 µm. The dust was mainly composed of quartz and calcite. Chrysotile fibers (white asbestos) were also found at the urban site. Dust from the industrial and urban sites triggered cytotoxic and genotoxic effects in the cells, whereas only minor effects were observed for the sample from the rural site.