Metal-enriched nanoparticles and black carbon: A perspective from the Brazil railway system air pollution

Bianca D. Lima, Elba C. Teixeira, James C. Hower, Matheus S. Civeira, Omar Ramírez, Cheng Xue Yang, Marcos L.S. Oliveira, Luis F.O. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Having a better understanding of air pollutants in railway systems is crucial to ensure a clean public transport. This study measured, for the first time in Brazil, nanoparticles (NPs) and black carbon (BC) on two ground-level platforms and inside trains of the Metropolitan Area of Porto Alegre (MAPA). An intense sampling campaign during thirteen consecutive months was carried out and the chemical composition of NPs was examined by advanced microscopy techniques. The results showed that highest concentrations of the pollutants occur in colder seasons and influenced by variables such as frequency of the trains and passenger densities. Also, internal and external sources of pollution at the stations were identified. The predominance of NPs enriched with metals that increase oxidative stress like Cd, Fe, Pb, Cr, Zn, Ni, V, Hg, Sn, and Ba both on the platforms and inside trains, including Fe-minerals as hematite and magnetite, represents a critical risk to the health of passengers and employees of the system. This interdisciplinary and multi-analytical study aims to provide an improved understanding of reported adverse health effects induced by railway system aerosols.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101129
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Environmental chemistry
  • Human health
  • Indoor air quality
  • Nanoparticles
  • Potential hazardous elements
  • Railway environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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