Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 2795–2805 | Cite as

Inhalation exposure and potential health risk estimation of lanthanides elements in PM2.5 associated with rare earth mining areas: a case of Baotou city, northern China

  • Kexin Li
  • Tao LiangEmail author
  • Lingqing WangEmail author
  • Shuhan Tian
Original Paper


Particulate pollution, especially PM2.5 (particles with an aerodynamic equivalent diameter of 2.5 μm or less), has received increased attention in China recently. In this study, PM2.5 samples were collected in August 2013 and April 2014 from different regions of Baotou, the largest rare earth elements (REEs) processing city in northern China. The concentrations and distribution patterns of REEs in PM2.5 were analyzed, and the inhalation exposure to REEs associated with PM2.5 was assessed. The results showed that the REEs levels were 56.9 and 15.3 ng m−3 in August 2013 and April 2014, respectively. These values are much higher than those in non-REEs mining areas. The distribution patterns of REEs exhibited LREE enrichment. The Eu and Ce anomalies displayed slightly positive and negative values, respectively, which were in accordance with the background soil and ore. The average daily intake amounts of REEs for population through inhalation exposure of PM2.5 in Baotou were in the range of 5.09 × 10−7 to 2.25 × 10−5 mg kg−1 day−1.


PM2.5 Mining activity Rare earth elements Inhalation exposure 



This study was sponsored by the National Natural Scientific Foundation of China (Nos. 41401591 and 41571473).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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