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Effects of sulfate aerosols in combination with ozone on elimination of tracer particles inhaled by rats.


Several inhaled atmospheres were tested for effects on the rat respiratory defense system. Materials studied included ozone and aerosols of ammonium sulfate, ferric sulfate, and sulfuric acid; relative humidity was also a controlled experimental variable. Each sulfate was studied alone as a submicrometer aerosol at a concentration of 3.5 mg/m3 in air and combined with ozone at 0.8 ppm. Results were compared with those for sham-exposed animals and for rats exposed to ozone alone. Air pollutant exposures, inside stainless steel chambers, were one time only for 4 h. The end points for evaluation of effects were measurements of early and late rates of clearance of radiolabeled insoluble tracer particles. Tracer particles were inhaled before air pollutant exposures and particle clearance was followed for about 2 wk. Ozone alone slowed the early (0-50 h after exposure) particle clearance and stimulated clearance during the later phase (2-17 d). High humidity usually amplified these effects of ozone as well as many of the other atmospheres studied. Sulfate aerosols alone tended to produce relatively small effects on early or late clearance. Combinations of ozone and aerosols resulted in effects that were similar to those of ozone alone. The data do not support the hypotheses that sulfate aerosols synergize with ozone in altering respiratory tract clearance, sulfuric acid being a probable exception. These data alone cannot be used to predict the overall health effects of the materials studied.

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