A method of differential surface composition analysis which allows non-destructive compositional analysis with depths below a solid surface is used to analyze respirable dust particles to determine the presence of hazardous components in the surface of the dust particles. A method of incubating respirable particles in a surrogate pulmonary surfactant system used in combination with the differential surface composition analysis allows determination of surface components which survive or are exposed on the respiratory particles after incubation in the surrogate pulmonary surfactant, representing modification of the partical surface upon deposition in the lung.
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