Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 483–496 | Cite as

Risk assessment of potentially toxic elements in smaller than 100-μm street dust particles from a valley-city in northwestern China

  • Ni Zhao
  • Xinwei Lu
  • Shigang Chao
Original Paper


Concentrations of potentially toxic elements (PTEs As, Ba, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, V, Zn and Mo) in smaller than 100-μm street dust particles from Xining, a typical valley-city in northwestern China, were determined using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and their potential risks to local ecosystem and human health were assessed using potential ecological risk index and health risk model. The results indicate that the concentration of As, Ba, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, V, Zn and Mo in the smaller than 100-μm street dust particles from Xining ranges from 0.8 to 11.1, 339.4 to 767.7, 27.2 to 110.2, 185.7 to 5134.5, 15.1 to 115.2, 150.1 to 623.5, 16.8 to 74.1, 24.4 to 233.0, 169.9 to 475.7, 47.4 to 96.8, 33.1 to 231.1 and 0.2 to 4.3 mg kg−1, with an arithmetic mean of 3.6, 415.6, 50.1, 573.0, 40.6, 409.1, 22.6, 52.7, 257.8, 57.1, 108.6 and 2.5 mg kg−1, respectively. Compared to the background value of local soil, the smaller than 100-μm street dust particles from Xining have elevated concentrations of Co, Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, Sr and Mo. The contamination levels of Ba, Co, Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, Sr and Mo are higher than As, Mn, Ni and V. The comprehensive potential ecological risk levels of PTEs were moderate to considerable. The non-carcinogenic risks of PTEs studied on children and adults due to dust exposure are limited except for Cr to children. Cr in the dust may pose a potential health risk to children; this should draw more attention.


Dust Toxic metal Ecological risk Health risk Ingestion 



The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China through Grant 41271510 and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central University through Grants GK201305008. We thank Xue Xu, Mengmeng Zhang, Xiang Ding and Tingting Feng for their help with the experiments. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful suggestions and critical reviews of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Tourism and EnvironmentShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China

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