Temi ambientali
Arpae in regione
Arpae Emilia-Romagna
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Regional monitoring network of urban particulate matter mutagenicity

Arpa Emilia Romagna created, in 1997, a Regional Network for the continuous monitoring of the mutagenicity of PM2,5 by short-term mutagenicity bioassays, to guarantee a constant surveillance on the entire regional territory. Since 1991, Arpa has monitored air contamination both by measuring the classical chemical-physical parameters and by evaluating continuously the mutagenicity of urban particulate matter in the city of Parma.

From 1997 till 2000, the Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) were monitored, from 2000 to now PM2,5 fraction is sampled. In fact, a contemporary continuous monitoring of the mutagenicity of TSP, PM10 and PM2,5, in Parma, between 1998 and 2000, revealed that the specific mutagenicity (rev/µg) of the PM2,5 fraction is significantly higher than that of the TSP and of PM10 fraction.

In the first years, Salmonella reverse mutation assay was performed on PM samples collected every month in every county town, now the network is made of five cities: Piacenza, Parma, Bologna, Ferrara and Rimini chosen for their different characteristics. e.g. Bologna is the regional county seat and in Ferrara there are chemical plants. 

The airborne particulate samples are collected at ambient air quality monitoring stations located in urban background areas (urban public parks), the uniformity of the sampling sites avoids variabilities such as the traffic intensity.

PM is sampled in January, February, July, November and December.

All the bioassays are carried out in Parma’s laboratory.

The continuous monitoring of the PM mutagenicity provides essential information for a better understanding of the impact of air pollution on the health of the population and allows to better judge the efficiency of national and local efforts for urban air quality improvement.


 Mutagenesis data