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Metals Present in Ambient Air before and after a Firework Festival in Yanshui, Tainan, Taiwan

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Volume: 12 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 981-993
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2012.03.0069
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Trong-Mui Do1, Chu-Fang Wang1,2, Yi-Kong Hsieh1, Hui-Fang Hsieh 1

  • 1 Department of Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Sciences, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
  • 2 Institute of Nuclear Engineering and Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan

Abstract

Fireworks displays are among the most important events during Taiwan’s annual Lantern Festival, although thus practice leads to metal and non-metal pollution in the air. In this study, we investigated the levels of 16 elements—Na, Mg, Al, Si, K, Ca, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, As, Sr, Ba, and Pb—during the fireworks festival in Yanshui, Tainan, Taiwan, and the chemical compositions and mass concentration distributions of these elements collected from the sampling site are reported. The airborne particles were mainly in the sub-micrometer regime, with coarse size ranges. The concentrations of most of the elements of interest in this study were higher in the post-fireworks display period than prior to it. Studies of respiratory epithelial cell death revealed that the levels of the elements collected in the sub-micrometer size range were more than two times lower than those in the micrometer size range in the post-fireworks display period, but the viability was 65.7% for the former compared with 73.3% for the latter. Accordingly, the toxicity of the sub-micrometer particles was greater than that of the micrometer-sized particles. We conclude that the burning of fireworks during the festival was the main source of the trace metals, and contributed significantly to the increase in airborne particulate matter.

Keywords

Airborne particulate matter Fireworks smoke emissions Electrical low pressure impactor Laser ablation Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry


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