Keywords: PGEs, platinum group elements, vehicle exhaust catalysts, children, urban exposure, child health, health risks, health hazards, automotive catalytic converters, environmental pollution, air pollution, bioaccumulation, bioavailability
Environmental exposure to platinum group elements released by automotive catalytic converters: the risk for children
The increasing use of Platinum Group Elements (PGEs) in vehicle exhaust catalysts causes their anthropogenic emission and spread all over the environment. The PGEs contamination initially occurs in airborne particulate matter, roadside dust, soil, sludge and water, and afterwards results in bioaccumulation in living organisms through diverse pathways. Several studies have reported enhanced PGE levels in human body fluids and tissues exposed to environmental PGEs. These elements are potent allergens and sensitisers, and have also been associated with asthma, nausea, increased hair loss, increased spontaneous abortion, dermatitis and other serious health problems in humans. Considering all the above points, the present paper reviews the literature on the topic related to PGEs environmental contamination, bioavailability and bioaccumulation, and possible health risk, with particular regard to more susceptible population groups such as children.