Intake fraction for particulate matter: Recommendations for life cycle impact assessment

Sebastien Humbert, Julian D. Marshall, Shanna Shaked, Joseph V. Spadaro, Yurika Nishioka, Philipp Preiss, Thomas E. McKone, Arpad Horvath, Olivier Jolliet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Particulate matter (PM) is a significant contributor to death and disease globally. This paper summarizes the work of an international expert group on the integration of human exposure to PM into life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), within the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. We review literature-derived intake fraction values (the fraction of emissions that are inhaled), based on emission release height and "archetypal" environment (indoor versus outdoor; urban, rural, or remote locations). Recommended intake fraction values are provided for primary PM10-2.5 (coarse particles), primary PM 2.5 (fine particles), and secondary PM2.5 from SO 2, NOx, and NH3. Intake fraction values vary by orders of magnitude among conditions considered. For outdoor primary PM 2.5, representative intake fraction values (units: milligrams inhaled per kilogram emitted) for urban, rural, and remote areas, respectively, are 44, 3.8, and 0.1 for ground-level emissions, versus 26, 2.6, and 0.1 for an emission-weighted stack height. For outdoor secondary PM, source location and source characteristics typically have only a minor influence on the magnitude of the intake fraction (exception: intake fraction values can be an order of magnitude lower for remote-location emission than for other locations). Outdoor secondary PM2.5 intake fractions averaged over respective locations and stack heights are 0.89 (from SO2), 0.18 (NOx), and 1.7 (NH3). Estimated average intake fractions are greater for primary PM10-2.5 than for primary PM2.5 (21 versus 15), owing in part to differences in average emission height (lower, and therefore closer to people, for PM10-2.5 than PM2.5). For indoor emissions, typical intake fraction values are ∼1000-7000. This paper aims to provide as complete and consistent an archetype framework as possible, given current understanding of each pollutant. Values presented here facilitate incorporating regional impacts into LCIA for human health damage from PM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4808-4816
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Intake fraction for particulate matter: Recommendations for life cycle impact assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this