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Participants needed for research into children’s exposure to metal particles

Friday, 11 February 2011


There are many particles found in the air around us, some can be seen and some are invisible to the naked eye, but all can have a potential impact on our health.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University; The World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Children’s Health, and the University of Western Australia are embarking on a combined project that investigates children’s exposure to particulates and metals in and around Port Hedland.

The study will specifically look at the impact of particles of the size PM10, which is inhaled into the upper part of the lungs and has a particularly high concentration in the Port Hedland region, due in part to extensive iron ore mining.

The study hopes to determine the extent to which children in the area are exposed to PM10 particles and also metals.  

Researchers hope to recruit more than 100 children aged between 9 and 11 years of age from the Port and South Hedland region, whose PM10 intake will then be assessed over a 24-hour period through the use of an active particulate sampler.

Children will also be asked to provide a morning urine sample, a hair sample and questionnaire, with all information then assessed and gathered by the research team to provide a snapshot of a child’s daily PM10 intake.

Associate Professor from the School of Natural Sciences, Dr Andrea Hinwood, believes the research will provide an insight into a child’s daily exposure to PM10 in the Port Hedland region.

“Particulate pollution is well known to have adverse impacts on health. What is less clear is whether all particles have the same effects and the first step in achieving this is to establish exposure concentrations”

“We hope that this preliminary research will determine whether children are exposed, how much they are exposed to and whether further study into health risks is required.”

Researchers are also hoping to implement a similar study in Perth and surrounding areas to gather different sets of comparative data.

Interested participants are asked to contact Andrea Hinwood on


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