Cytotoxic Free Radicals on Air-Borne Soot Particles Generated by Burning Wood or Low-Maturity Coals.
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The traditional cook stove is a major contributor to combustion-derived soot particles, which contain various chemical species that may cause a significant impact to human health and ecosystems. However, properties and toxicity associated with environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) in such emissions are not well known. This paper investigated the characteristics and cytotoxicity of soot-associated EPFRs discharged from Chinese household stoves. Our results showed that the concentrations of EPFRs were related to fuel types, and they were higher in wood-burning soot (8.9-10.5 1016 spins/g) than in coal-burning soot (3.9-9.7 1016 spins/g). Meanwhile, EPFR concentrations in soot decreased with an increase of coal maturity. The soot EPFRs, especially reactive fractions, readily induced the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Potential health effects of soot EPFRs were also examined using normal human bronchial epithelial cell line 16HBE as a model. Soot particles were internalized by 16HBE cells inducing cytotoxicity. The main toxicity inducers were identified to be reactive EPFR species, which generated ROS inside human cells. Our findings provided valuable insights into potential contributions of soot EPFRs associated with different types of fuel to health problems. This information will support regulations to end or limit current stove usage in numerous households.