, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 107-113,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 18 Nov 2012

Multivariate statistical analysis of heavy metals in foliage dust near pedestrian bridges in Guangzhou, South China in 2009


The heavy metal content of particulate matter was investigated in the city of Guangzhou in southern China. Samples of urban foliage near 36 pedestrian bridges were analyzed to determine their Zn, Pb, Cu, Cr, V, Ni, and Co contents after digestion in a mixture of strong acids composed of HNO3, HCl, HF, and HClO4. The results revealed a severe heavy metal pollution compared with the background levels in Chinese soils, except for Co and V. The mean concentrations of Zn (1,024 mg kg−1), Pb (233 mg kg−1), Cu (203 mg kg−1), Cr (118 mg kg−1), V (41.9 mg kg−1), Ni (41.4 mg kg−1), and Co (11.3 mg kg−1) in urban dust were higher than the reference levels, and were highest in samples located near high-traffic areas. Multivariate statistical methods (correlation analysis, principal-components analysis, and clustering analysis) were used to identify the possible sources of the metals. Three main pollutant sources are assigned: Zn, Cu and Ni levels were strongly correlated and were possibly related to combustion processes and vehicles; Pb, Cr and Co were mainly derived from traffic sources, combined with soil sources; and V mainly originated from natural sources.