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expert reaction to study of iron oxide nanoparticles in the London Underground

A study published in Scientific Reports looks at airborne iron oxide nanoparticles in the London Underground.


Prof Zongbo Shi, Professor of Atmospheric Biogeochemistry, University of Birmingham, said:

“This study applies a traditional method commonly used in the geochemical field in atmospheric science to determine the composition, size and mineralogy of iron-containing particles in the air of the London underground. It is already known that particulate matter pollution is extremely high in London Underground and this research further confirms that lots of the particles are from abrasion and contain iron. Iron oxides are likely to cause oxidative stress so present a potentially high health risk.

“This is high quality research and provides further evidence on the need to develop interventions to reduce passenger exposure to airborne particles and improve health.

“If more work is done on the ambient size distribution of the iron oxide particles that would be even better – to quantify the actual exposure of nano-iron oxide particles. Post-processing of particulate matter samples could have changed their size and composition. Future work may combine a direct sampling of the nanoparticles for transmission electron microscopy analysis and number size distribution observations, such as using Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer.”  



‘Magnetic and microscopic investigation of airborne iron oxide nanoparticles in the London Underground’ by H. A. Sheikh et al. was published in Scientific Reports at 16:00 UK time on Thursday 15th December.

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-24679-4



Declared interests

No reply to our request for DOIs was received.



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