Chemical fingerprints of the major sources of PM2.5 in Dublin, Ireland: a focus on diesel vehicle emissions

Meabh Gallagher, Aonghus McNabola, Balz Kamber, Laurence Gill, Bidisha Ghosh, Md SANIUL ALAM

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Particulate matter (PM) is one of the most problematic air pollutants in Ireland, and recently the associations between exposure to ambient PM and adverse health outcomes have been more firmly established. Diesel vehicles in particular are known for their significant contribution to overall emissions of PM (PM2.5) in the atmosphere, and therefore constitute a significant threat to public health and the environment. A recent investigation of national emissions in the road transport sector in Ireland has highlighted that private diesel passenger vehicles contribute the largest proportion of total emissions in both CO2 and PM of all vehicle categories. Owing to the recent growth in private diesel vehicles since 2008, this vehicle category represents a significant pressure on the quality of the urban environment in Ireland.

Determination of the proportion of total PM concentration in urban areas, which has originated from diesel vehicle emissions using source apportionment techniques, is invaluable in assessing the impact of diesel emissions on population exposure. We are generating evidence on the impact of diesel vehicles in Ireland on the exposure of the population to PM2.5 through field measurement of ambient PM2.5 and direct sampling of PM2.5 sources. Here we present a data set of chemical fingerprints of the majorsources of PM2.5 in Dublin. These include a wide variety of vehicular exhaust emissions and solid fuels including wood, peat and coal, sea spray, mineral dust and road dust, with a particular focus on diesel vehicle emissions. A single analytical technique was employed for the chemical analysis that was carried out here; laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), while other PM2.5 source apportionment studies commonly use a variety of analytical techniques for chemical analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Impacts
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


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