Skip to main content

Determination of Trace Metals in Airborne Particulate Matter of Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia


Results from the present study in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia indicated a significant spatial variation but generally the total suspended particulate concentrations (mean = 17.2–148 μg/m3) recorded were below the recommended Malaysia guideline for total suspended particulate (mean of 24-h measurement = 260 μg/m3). Some of the elemental composition of particulate aerosol is clearly affected by non crustal sources, e.g. vehicular emission sources. Based on correlation and enrichment analyses, the elements could be grouped into two i.e. Pb, Cd and Zn group with sources from vehicular emission (r > 0.6; enrichment factor > 10) and Al, Fe, Mn and Cr group that appears to be of crustal origin (r > 0.6; enrichment factor < 10). It can also be concluded that the mean levels of Pb (1 ng/m3), Cd (0.02 ng/m3) and Zn (2 ng/m3) in the study area are generally lower than other urban areas in Malaysia (Pb < 181 ng/m3; Cd < 6 ng/m3; Zn < 192 ng/m3).

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Afroz R, Hassan MN, Ibrahim NA (2003) Review of air pollution and health impact in Malaysia. Environ Res 92:71–77. doi:10.1016/S0013-9351(02)00059-2

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Al-Momani IF (2003) Trace elements in atmospheric precipitation at Northern Jordan measured by ICP-MS: acidity and possible sources. Atmos Environ 37:4507–4515. doi:10.1016/S1352-2310(03)00562-4

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Chester R, Nimmo M, Corcoran PA (1997) Rain water-aerosol trace metal relationships at Cap Ferrat: a costal site in the western Mediterranean. Mar Chem 58:293–312. doi:10.1016/S0304-4203(97)00056-X

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Fang GC, Chang CN, Chu CC, Wu YS, Fu PPC, Yang IL, Chen MH (2003) Characterization of particulate, metallic elements of TSP, PM2.5 and PM2.5–10 aerosols at a farm sampling site in Taiwan, Taichung. Sci Total Environ 308:157–166. doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00648-4

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Herut B, Nimmo M, Medway A, Chester R, Krom MD (2001) Dry atmospheric inputs of trace metals at the Mediterranean coast of Israel (SE Mediterranean): sources and fluxes. Atmos Environ 35:803–813. doi:10.1016/S1352-2310(00)00216-8

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Hien PD, Binh NT, Truong Y, Ngo NT, Sieu LN (2001) Comparative receptor modeling study of TSP, PM2 and PM2–10 in Ho Chi Minh City. Atmos Environ 35:2669–2678. doi:10.1016/S1352-2310(00)00574-4

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Latif MT, Othman MR (1999) Airborne particulate composition in air (in malay). Malays J Anal Sci 5:131–136

    Google Scholar 

  8. Li XD, Poon C, Pui SL (2001) Heavy metal contamination of urban soils and street dusts in Hong Kong. Appl Geochem 16:1361–1368. doi:10.1016/S0883-2927(01)00045-2

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Munir HS, Shaheen N, Jaffar M, Khalique A, Tariq SR, Manzoor S (2006) Spatial variations in selected metal contents and particle size distribution in an urban and rural atmosphere of Islamabad, Pakistan. J Environ Manag 78:128–137. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2005.04.011

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Okuda T, Kato J, Mori J, Tenmoku M, Suda Y, Tanaka S, He K, Ma Y, Yang F, Yu X, Duan F, Lei Y (2004) Daily concentrations of trace metals in aerosols in Beijing, China, Determined by using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry equipped with laser ablation analysis, and source identification of aerosols. Sci Total Environ 330:145–158. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.04.010

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Pandey PK, Patel KS, Subrt P (1998) Trace elemental composition of atmospheric particulate at Bhilai in central east India. Sci Total Environ 215:23–134. doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(98)00111-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Rashid M, Rahmalan A, Khalik A (1999) Characterization of fine and coarse atmospheric aerosols in Kuala Lumpur. Pertanika J Sci & Technol 5:25–42

    Google Scholar 

  13. Thomaidis NS, Bakeas EB, Siskos PA (2003) Characterization of lead, cadmium, arsenic and nickel in PM2.5 particles in the Athens atmosphere, Greece. Chemosphere 52:959–966

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Ure AM, Berrow ML (1982) The Elemental constituents of soils. The Royal Society of Chemistry, London, pp 203–204

    Google Scholar 

  15. USEPA, United States Environmental Protection Agency (1982) Air quality criteria for particulate matter and sulfur oxides. Vol. I. EPA-600/8-82-029a. Research Triangle Park, N.C

Download references


Thanks to Dr. Keith Weston (University of East Anglia, UK) for assistance with the proof reading of the manuscript.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to N. Mohd Tahir.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mohd Tahir, N., Poh, S.C., Suratman, S. et al. Determination of Trace Metals in Airborne Particulate Matter of Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 83, 199–203 (2009).

Download citation


  • Airborne particulate matter
  • Trace metals
  • Total suspended particulate
  • Kuala Terengganu
  • Malaysia