Skip to main content

Atmospheric PM2.5 Mercury in the Metropolitan Area of Mexico City


In this study, atmospheric mercury concentration in airborne particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 µm (PM2.5) was analyzed by ICP-MS. Samples were collected in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA), during 2013, in five locations, Northwest, Northeast (NE), Central, Southwest and Southeast, along three seasons: dry warm, rainy, and dry cold (DC). It can be observed that NE shows the highest mercury concentration (p < 0.05), where pollution events were identified. The seasonal distribution shows that samples collected during DC present the highest concentration (p < 0.05). These results are in agreement with the distribution of important mercury industrial sources located in the northern urban area as well with the temperature and wind conditions during 2013. The comparison of data obtained in this work with those of similar previous studies clearly indicates a decrease, between 2006 and 2013, of mercury content in PM2.5 collected in MCMA.

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

Fig. 1


  1. Automatic Monitoring Network ('aKBhnmI='&opcion=Zw==)

  2. Clarkson TW (1993) Mercury: major issues in environmental health. Environ Health Perspect 100:31

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. De la Rosa DA, Velasco A, Rosas A, Volke-Sepulveda T (2006) Total gaseous mercury and volatile organic compounds measurements at five municipal solid waste disposal sites surrounding the Mexico City metropolitan area. Atmos Environ 40(12):2079–2088

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Federal Polluant Release and Transfer Register Accessed 10 Oct 2016

  5. Fu X, Feng X, Qiu G, Shang L, Zhang H (2011) Speciated atmospheric mercury and its potential source in Guiyang, China. Atmos Environ 45(25):4205–4212

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Kim SH, Han YJ, Holsen TM, Yi SM (2009) Characteristics of atmospheric speciated mercury concentrations (TGM, Hg (II) and Hg (p)) in Seoul, Korea. Atmos Environ 43(20):3267–3274

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Liu B, Keeler GJ, Dvonch JT, Barres JA, Lynam MM, Marsik FJ, Morgan JT (2007) Temporal variability of mercury speciation in urban air. Atmos Environ 41(9):1911–1923

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Moreno T, Higueras P, Jones T, McDonald I, Gibbons W (2005) Size fractionation in mercury-bearing airborne particles (HgPM 10) at Almadén, Spain: implications for inhalation hazards around old mines. Atmos Environ 39(34):6409–6419

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Poissant L, Pilote M, Beauvais C, Constant P, Zhang HH (2005) A year of continuous measurements of three atmospheric mercury species (GEM, RGM and Hg p) in southern Quebec, Canada. Atmos Environ 39(7):1275–1287

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Pyta H, Rogula-Kozłowska W (2016) Determination of mercury in size-segregated ambient particulate matter using CVAAS. Microchem J 124:76–81

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Qin X, Wang F, Deng C, Wang F, Yu G (2016) Seasonal variation of atmospheric particulate mercury over the East China Sea, an outflow region of anthropogenic pollutants to the open Pacific Ocean. Atmos Pollut Res 7(5):876–883

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Rutter AP, Snyder DC, Stone EA, Schauer JJ, Gonzalez-Abraham R, Molina LT, Márquez C, Cardenas B, Foy BD (2009) In situ measurements of speciated atmospheric mercury and the identification of source regions in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area. Atmos Chem Phys 9(1):207–220

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Schroeder WH, Munthe J (1998) Atmospheric mercury—an overview. Atmos Environ 32(5):809–822

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Wan Q, Feng X, Lu J, Zheng W, Song X, Han S, Xu H (2009) Atmospheric mercury in Changbai Mountain area, northeastern China I. The seasonal distribution pattern of total gaseous mercury and its potential sources. Environ Res 109(3):201–206

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Xu L, Chen J, Niu Z, Yin L, Chen Y (2013) Characterization of mercury in atmospheric particulate matter in the southeast coastal cities of China. Atmos Pollut Res 4(4):454–461

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Yatavelli RL, Fahrni JK, Kim M, Crist KC, Vickers CD, Winter SE, Connell DP (2006) Mercury, PM 2.5 and gaseous co-pollutants in the Ohio River Valley region: preliminary results from the Athens supersite. Atmos Environ 40(34):6650–6665

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was performed with financial support of Project 166295 from CONACyT (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología) and Project CPSG/087A/2014 FA from the SECyTI (Secretaría de Ciencia Tecnología e Inovación) as well as from Project IN102815 from DGAPA (Dirección General de Personal Académico, UNAM).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ofelia Morton-Bermea.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Morton-Bermea, O., Garza-Galindo, R., Hernández-Álvarez, E. et al. Atmospheric PM2.5 Mercury in the Metropolitan Area of Mexico City. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 100, 588–592 (2018).

Download citation


  • Mercury
  • PM2.5
  • Atmospheric pollution
  • Spatial distribution pattern
  • Seasonal distribution pattern
  • Minamata convention