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A review of the distribution of particulate trace elements in urban terrestrial environments and its application to considerations of risk

Abstract

We review the evolution, state of the art and future lines of research on the sources, transport pathways, and sinks of particulate trace elements in urban terrestrial environments to include the atmosphere, soils, and street and indoor dusts. Such studies reveal reductions in the emissions of some elements of historical concern such as Pb, with interest consequently focusing on other toxic trace elements such as As, Cd, Hg, Zn, and Cu. While establishment of levels of these elements is important in assessing the potential impacts of human society on the urban environment, it is also necessary to apply this knowledge in conjunction with information on the toxicity of those trace elements and the degree of exposure of human receptors to an assessment of whether such contamination represents a real risk to the city’s inhabitants and therefore how this risk can be addressed.

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Charlesworth, S., De Miguel, E. & Ordóñez, A. A review of the distribution of particulate trace elements in urban terrestrial environments and its application to considerations of risk. Environ Geochem Health 33, 103–123 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-010-9325-7

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Keywords

  • Urban geochemistry
  • Urban solid deposits
  • Bioaccessibility
  • Bioavailability
  • Risk assessment
  • Urban geochemical cycles