alexa Characterization of atmospheric particulates, particle-bound transition metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons of urban air in the centre of Athens (Greece).
Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology

Author(s): Valavanidis A, Fiotakis K, Vlahogianni T, Bakeas EB, Triantafillaki S,

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Abstract The concentrations of trace metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) adsorbed to total suspended particulate (TSP) and finer fractions of airborne particulate matter (PM) were determined from a site in the centre of Athens (Greece), which is characterized by heavy local traffic and is densely populated, during the winter and summer periods in 2003-2004. Also, we collected and analyzed samples of diesel and gasoline exhaust particles from local vehicles (buses, taxis and private cars) and from chimney exhaust of residential central heating appliances. A seasonal effect was observed for the size distribution of aerosol mass, with a shift to larger fine fractions in winter. The most commonly detected trace metals in the TSP and PM fractions were Fe, Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr, V, Ni and Cd and their concentrations were similar to levels observed in heavily polluted urban areas from local traffic and other anthropogenic emissions. Analysis of 16 PAHs bound to PM showed that they are mostly traffic related. In general, the fine particulate PAHs concentrations were higher than coarse particles. The most common PAHs in PM(10.2) and PM(2.1) were pyrene, phenanthrene, acenapthylene and fluoranthene, which are associated with diesel and gasoline exhaust particles. The results of this study underlined the importance of local emission sources, especially vehicular traffic, central heating and other local anthropogenic emissions. Compared with other big cities, Athens has much higher levels of airborne particles, especially of the finer fractions PM(10) and PM(2.5), correlated with traffic-related air pollution. This article was published in Chemosphere and referenced in Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology

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