Articles online

Life Cycle Impact Assessment of Airborne Metal Pollution near Selected Iron and Steelmaking Industrial Areas in China

Category: Urban Air Quality

Article In Press
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.10.0552

Export Citation:  RIS | BibTeX

To cite this article:
Zhou, X., Strezov, V., Jiang, Y., Yang, X., He, J. and Evans, T. (2020). Life Cycle Impact Assessment of Airborne Metal Pollution near Selected Iron and Steelmaking Industrial Areas in China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res., doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.10.0552.

Xiaoteng Zhou 1,2, Vladimir Strezov1,2, Yijiao Jiang1,3, Xiaoxia Yang1,3, Jing He2, Tim Evans1,2

  • 1 ARC Research Hub for Computational Particle Technology, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia
  • 2 Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia
  • 3 School of Engineering, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia


  • Life Cycle Impact Assessment model was used to evaluate impacts of PM pollution.
  • Trace element contents at PM1.1 presented high risks to human and ecosystem.
  • Traffic-related vanadium contamination was found at coarse PM fractions.
  • Airborne Cu and Zn were major contributors to aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicity.
  • The Pb contamination at three PM fractions contributed to 19–88% of human toxicity.


Toxic metals in particulate matter pose a significant health risk to humans via inhalation and dermal exposure. Additionally, airborne pollution has negative impacts on terrestrial and aquatic quality as a result of atmospheric deposition. Iron and steelmaking industry is considered as a major contributor to airborne metal pollution. Given that China has been the largest steel producer and consumer since 1996, a detailed investigation of airborne metal pollution is required to assess the potential risks to both human health and ecosystem quality near iron and steelmaking areas in China. This study applied an environmental impact assessment approach to evaluate the freshwater ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, marine ecotoxicity and human toxicity caused by metal concentrations in PM1.1, PM1.1-2.1 and PM2.1-9.0 fractions. Results showed that heavy metals Cu and Zn associated with steelmaking activities were largely responsible for aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicity. This study also found that As and Pb contamination presented the largest fraction of the impacts on human toxicity. Findings presented in this study showed that more stringent control measures are required to improve the environmental performance of the iron and steelmaking industries in China.


PM1 PM2.5 Human toxicity Aquatic ecotoxicity Terrestrial ecotoxicity

Related Article

Metal Ion Release from Fine Particulate Matter Sampled in the Po Valley to an Aqueous Solution Mimicking Fog Water: Kinetics and Solubility

Valerio Di Marco, Andrea Tapparo, Denis Badocco, Sara D’Aronco, Paolo Pastore, Chiara Giorio

A Sampler for Collecting Fine Particles into Liquid Suspensions

Dongbin Wang , Jingkun Jiang, Jianguo Deng, Yuyang Li, Jiming Hao
Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.12.0616

Particle Mass Concentrations and Number Size Distributions in 40 Homes in Germany: Indoor-to-outdoor Relationships, Diurnal and Seasonal Variation

Jiangyue Zhao, Wolfram Birmili, Birgit Wehner, Anja Daniels, Kay Weinhold, Lina Wang, Maik Merkel, Simonas Kecorius, Thomas Tuch, Ulrich Franck, Tareq Hussein, Alfred Wiedensohler

Spatiotemporal Variations and Contributing Factors of Air Pollutants in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Aiymgul Kerimray , Eldar Azbanbayev, Bulat Kenessov, Pavel Plotitsyn, Danara Alimbayeva, Ferhat Karaca
Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.09.0464