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Characterization of PM1-Bound Metallic Elements in the Ambient Air at a High Mountain Site in Northern China

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Volume: 18 | Issue: 12 | Pages: 2967-2981
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.04.0129

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To cite this article:
Yue, J.J., Palmiero, R., Han, Y.Y., Wang, Y., Li, Q.Q., Zhang, T.Y., Sun, M., Wang, H., Yu, G., Yi, X.L., Li, P.H., Ji, Y.Q. and Guo, L.Q. (2018). Characterization of PM1-Bound Metallic Elements in the Ambient Air at a High Mountain Site in Northern China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 18: 2967-2981. doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.04.0129.

Jun-Jie Yue1, Roberta Palmiero1,2, Yang-Yang Han3, Yan Wang4, Qian-Qian Li5, Tuo-Yu Zhang3, Meiqing Sun6, Hong Wang6, Guangping Yu6, Xian-Liang Yi7, Peng-Hui Li 1, Ya-Qin Ji 8, Li-Qiong Guo9

  • 1 School of Environmental Science and Safety Engineering, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin 300384, China
  • 2 Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (DICEA), University of Naples Federico II, 80125 Naples, Italy
  • 3 Tianjin Institute of Scientific and Technical Information, Tianjin 300074, China
  • 4 School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China
  • 5 Neurology Department, General Hospital of PLA, Beijing 100853, China
  • 6 Wuqing District Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Tianjin 301700, China
  • 7 School of Food and Environment, Dalian University of Technology, Panjin 124221, China
  • 8 College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China
  • 9 Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300070, China


PM1-bound metallic elements were studied at regionally background site, China.
Sources and transport of PM1-bound metallic elements were analyzed.
Health risks caused by heavy metals inhalation were calculated.


The PM-bound metallic elements in 43 daily PM1 samples collected at Mount Tai during a summer campaign were analyzed by ICP-MS. The PM1 concentrations ranged between 11.02 and 83.71 µg m–3, with an average of 38.98 µg m–3, and were influenced by meteorological events, exhibiting an increasing trend in the early stage of rain, followed by a significant decrease denoting efficient scavenging. Higher elemental concentrations were detected at Mount Tai than at other overseas background sites. According to the enrichment factor (EF) and geo-accumulation index (Igeo) calculations, among the 16 considered elements, Mn, Al, Co, Sr, Mo, Fe, Ca, V, Ti and Ni in the PM1 were mainly of crustal origin, while Cu, Cr, As, Zn, Pb and Cd were primarily due to anthropogenic causes. Source identification via Pearson correlation analysis and principle component analysis showed that coal mining and coal burning activities, metal processing industries and vehicle emissions were common sources of heavy metals on Mount Tai; these results were consistent with the air mass analysis. The estimated hazard indexes for all population groups (the elderly, males, females and children) were smaller than 1, suggesting that non-carcinogenic effects due to heavy metal inhalation were unlikely to occur. However, in the present study, the incremental lifetime cancer risk values were about 10 times higher than the reference value of 1 × 10–6, indicating a potential health risk to the general population.


Submicron particles Metal elements Air transport Source analysis Risk assessment

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DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.12.0658