Saharan dust levels in Greece and received inhalation doses C. Mitsakou1, G. Kallos1, N. Papantoniou1, C. Spyrou1, S. Solomos1, M. Astitha1, and C. Housiadas2 1National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Physics, Athens, Greece 2National Centre for Scientific Research "Demokritos", Inst. of Nuclear Technology and Radiation Protection, Athens, Greece
Abstract. The desert of Sahara is one of the major sources of mineral dust on Earth,
producing around 2×108 tons/yr. Under certain weather conditions, dust
particles from Saharan desert get transported over the Mediterranean Sea and
most of Europe. The limiting values set by the directive EC/30/1999 of
European Union can easily be exceeded by the transport of desert dust
particles in the south European Region and especially in urban areas, where
there is also significant contribution from anthropogenic sources. In this
study, the effects of dust transport on air quality in several Greek urban
areas are quantified. PM10 concentration values from stationary
monitoring stations are compared to dust concentrations for the 4-year
period 2003–2006. The dust concentration values in the Greek areas were
estimated by the SKIRON modelling system coupled with embedded algorithms
describing the dust cycle. The mean annual dust contribution to
daily-averaged PM10 concentration values was found to be around or even
greater than 10% in the urban areas throughout the years examined.
Natural dust transport may contribute by more than 20% to the annual
number of exceedances – PM10 values greater than EU limits – depending
on the specific monitoring location. In a second stage of the study, the
inhaled lung dose received by the residents in various Greek locations is
calculated. The particle deposition efficiency of mineral dust at the
different parts of the human respiratory tract is determined by applying a
lung dosimetry numerical model, which incorporates inhalation dynamics and
aerosol physical processes. The inhalation dose from mineral dust particles
was greater in the upper respiratory system (extrathoracic region) and less
significant in the lungs, especially in the sensitive alveolar region.
However, in cases of dust episodes, the amounts of mineral dust deposited
along the human lung are comparable to those received during exposure in
heavily polluted urban or smoking areas.
Citation: Mitsakou, C., Kallos, G., Papantoniou, N., Spyrou, C., Solomos, S., Astitha, M., and Housiadas, C.: Saharan dust levels in Greece and received inhalation doses, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 7181-7192, doi:10.5194/acp-8-7181-2008, 2008.