Special Issue: Progress and prospects of atmospheric environmental sciences in China

Trace metals in atmospheric fine particles in one industrial urban city: Spatial variations, sources, and health implications

Shengzhen Zhou , Qi Yuan , Weijun Li* , Yaling Lu , Yangmei Zhang , Wenxing Wang


Received ,Revised , Accepted , Available online January 09, 2014

Volume 26,2014,Pages 205-213

Trace metals in PM2.5 were measured at one industrial site and one urban site during September, 2010 in Ji'nan, eastern China. Individual aerosol particles and PM2.5 samples were collected concurrently at both sites. Mass concentrations of eleven trace metals (i.e., Al, Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Sr, Ba, and Pb) and one metalloid (i.e., As) were measured by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). The result shows that mass concentrations of PM2.5 (130 μg/m3) and trace metals (4.03 μg/m3) at the industrial site were 1.3 times and 1.7 times higher than those at the urban site, respectively, indicating that industrial activities nearby the city can emit trace metals into the surrounding atmosphere. Fe concentrations were the highest among all the measured trace metals at both sites, with concentrations of 1.04 μg/m3 at the urban site and 2.41 μg/m3 at the industrial site, respectively. In addition, Pb showed the highest enrichment factors at both sites, suggesting the emissions from anthropogenic activities existed around the city. Correlation coefficient analysis and principal component analysis revealed that Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb, and Zn were originated from vehicular traffic and industrial emissions at both sites; As, Cr, and part of Pb from coal-fired power plant; Ba and Ti from natural soil. Based on the transmission electron microscopy analysis, we found that most of the trace metals were internally mixed with secondary sulfate/organic particles. These internally mixed trace metals in the urban air may have different toxic abilities compared with externally mixed trace metals.

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