Major cities are still facing serious atmospheric pollution from airborne particulate matter. Attention has recently focused on the health impact of black smoke emitted from diesel-powered vehicles. At our research group, we are conducting research into emission source profiles and environmental dynamics of airborne fine particles , and are investigating the relationship between the sources and environmental concentrations. In parallel, we are conducting exposure assessment and investigating the relationship between environmental concentrations and health impacts. Toxicological assessment in animal models is contributing to the establishment of a targeted method of impact assessment..
What is airborne particulate matter?
Airborne or suspended particulate matter (SPM) is fine particles in the atmosphere, generated by human activities and natural processes. The proportion automobile exhaust emissions are higher in urban areas, Fine particles smaller than 2.5 Êm in diameter, called PM2.5, and diesel exhaust particles (DEP) are though to have greater effects on health.
- Traffic Pollution Control Research Team
- This team works on (1) understanding actual exhaust gas emissions from automobiles, through fieldwork and chassis-dynamometer experiment facilities, and (2) methods to predict and evaluate the effectiveness of various policy options such as promoting the adoption of low-emission vehicles and improving traffic and transport systems. The objective of the research is to improve environmental problems caused by passengers' traffic and freight transport and in particular, improvements of atmospheric pollution along roadsides and in urban areas.
Urban Air Quality Research Team
- In order to understand the atmospheric dynamics of airborne particulate
matter, composite atmospheric pollution is considered from the
perspective of the interactions between gaseous atmospheric pollutants
and aerosols. This team conducts research into actual phenomena,
modeling, and implementation of measures against pollution sources,
using field measurements, wind tunnel tests, and mathematical
Aerosol Measurement Research Team
- The objectives of this team are to clarify the cause-and-effect
relationship and gain an overall understanding of the atmospheric
behavior of particulate matter as it goes through the cycle from
automobile or factory emission/production through atmospheric chemical
reactions, transition and dispersion under various atmospheric
conditions, and arrival in the human respiratory tract or on the outer
surface of plants. As well as analyzing size and chemical composition of
the individual particle types, the team is researching methods to enable
multi-faceted particle measurements, including spatial and temporal
changes in concentration.
Epidemiology and Exposure Assessment Research Team
- This team is aiming to understand to degree of exposure of the general
public to particulate matter such as DEP and PM2.5. The team is
developing models for exposure assessment, as well as conducting
statistical analyses on the relationship with various health indicators.
The team is also undertaking epidemiological research to investigate the
health effects of atmospheric pollutants, starting with particulate
Inhalation Toxicology Team
- This team is researching administration of diesel exhaust emissions and the microparticles contained therein to living organisms, in order to assess the pharmacology and the impact on health. The team uses pathological, physiological, and molecular biology techniques to assess the effect on the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, and reproductive systems. Another key objective is to understand the relationship between amount of exposure and the impact on health (reaction).
Independent Senior Researcher
- In order to understand spatial and temporal changes in airborne
particulate matter, this group uses statistical analysis techniques to
evaluate the data measurements. Other research involves how to combine
systems in order to efficiently measure particulate matter.