Development of a sampler for total aerosol deposition in the human respiratory tract

Kirsten A. Koehler, Phillip Clark, John Volckens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Studies that seek to associate reduced human health with exposure to occupational and environmental aerosols are often hampered by limitations in the exposure assessment process. One limitation involves the measured exposure metric itself. Current methods for personal exposure assessment are designed to estimate the aspiration of aerosol into the human body. Since a large proportion of inhaled aerosol is subsequently exhaled, a portion of the aspirated aerosol will not contribute to the dose. This leads to variable exposure misclassification (for heterogenous exposures) and increased uncertainty in health effect associations. Alternatively, a metric for respiratory deposition would provide a more physiologically relevant estimate of risk. To address this challenge, we have developed a method to estimate the deposition of aerosol in the human respiratory tract using a sampler engineered from polyurethane foam. Using a semi-empirical model based on inertial, gravitational, and diffusional particle deposition, a foam was engineered to mimic aerosol total deposition in the human respiratory tract. The sampler is comprised of commercially available foam with fiber diameter=49.5 μm (equivalent to industry standard 100 PPI foam) of 8 cm thickness operating at a face velocity of 1.3 m s-1. Additionally, the foam sampler yields a relatively low-pressure drop, independent of aerosol loading, providing uniform particle collection efficiency over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-738
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Occupational Hygiene
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerosols
  • Exposure estimation
  • Gravimetric analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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