A new test developed by German and British researchers can measure the toxicity level of dust particles.
Dust particles, or particulate matter, contribute to air pollution, which can result in allergies, asthma and cancer.
Until now, however, there has not been a test that has been able to identify its specifically hazardous manifestations. The test can help identify areas with the most toxic air pollution so that steps can be taken to improve air quality or reduce exposure.
The test measures the oxidant generating capability of dust samples, or, how likely it is that the dust will modify cell components. Oxidation is strongly correlated with premature aging and cancer.
The researchers found that higher toxicity levels depended more on the where the sample was collected, than it does on the size of the dust particles.