The Open UniversitySkip to content

Sources of Airborne Endotoxins in Ambient Air and Exposure of Nearby Communities—A Review

Rolph, Catherine A.; Gwyther, Ceri L.; Tyrrel, Sean F.; Nasir, Zaheer A.; Drew, Gillian H.; Jackson, Simon K.; Khera, Shagun; Hayes, Enda T.; Williams, Ben; Bennett, Allan; Collins, Samuel; Walsh, Kerry; Kinnersley, Rob and Gladding, Toni L. (2018). Sources of Airborne Endotoxins in Ambient Air and Exposure of Nearby Communities—A Review. Atmosphere, 9(10), article no. 375.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (687kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Endotoxin is a bioaerosol component that is known to cause respiratory effects in exposed populations. To date, most research focused on occupational exposure, whilst much less is known about the impact of emissions from industrial operations on downwind endotoxin concentrations. A review of the literature was undertaken, identifying studies that reported endotoxin concentrations in both ambient environments and around sources with high endotoxin emissions. Ambient endotoxin concentrations in both rural and urban areas are generally below 10 endotoxin units (EU) m−3; however, around significant sources such as compost facilities, farms, and wastewater treatment plants, endotoxin concentrations regularly exceeded 100 EU m−3. However, this is affected by a range of factors including sampling approach, equipment, and duration. Reported downwind measurements of endotoxin demonstrate that endotoxin concentrations can remain above upwind concentrations. The evaluation of reported data is complicated due to a wide range of different parameters including sampling approaches, temperature, and site activity, demonstrating the need for a standardised methodology and improved guidance. Thorough characterisation of ambient endotoxin levels and modelling of endotoxin from pollution sources is needed to help inform future policy and support a robust health-based risk assessment process.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 The Authors
ISSN: 2073-4433
Keywords: bioaerosol; endotoxin; composting facilities; intensive farming; air pollution
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 57094
Depositing User: Ceri Gwyther
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 07:49
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 14:38
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU