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Compelling evidence shows that fine particulate matters (PMs) from air pollution penetrate lower airways and are associated with adverse health effects even within concentrations below those recommended by the WHO. A paper reported a dose-dependent link between carbon content in alveolar macrophages (assessed only by optical microscopy) and the decline in lung function. 

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352396415301754