In the UK, ambient levels of PM10 are approximately 20-30 micrograms/m3 but may increase 10-fold during pollution episodes. There have been concerns expressed about the possible detrimental health effects of breathing particulates generated by opencast coal mining in the United Kingdom (e.g. Glyneath in Wales, 1997). However these fears have not been confirmed due to lack of adequate monitoring, characterisation, and source apportionment of PM10. We have collected airborne particulates from several sites within ‘Park Slip West’ coal opencast pit, which is situated in the south of Wales, UK. This collection constitutes the first half of a project to collect and characterise particles, followed by an assessment of their bioreactivity. The characterisation includes Field Emission SEM, SEM-EDAX, TEM-EPXMA, ICPMS and Image Analysis.
Particles were collected using high-volume air samplers operating at pre-calibrated flow rates of 30L/minute, attached to PM10 selective-inlet heads.