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Assessment of selected metals in the ambient air PM10 in urban sites of Bangkok (Thailand)

Abstract

Estimating the atmospheric concentrations of PM10-bounded selected metals in urban air is crucial for evaluating adverse health impacts. In the current study, a combination of measurements and multivariate statistical tools was used to investigate the influence of anthropogenic activities on variations in the contents of 18 metals (i.e., Al, Sc, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd, Sb, Ba, La, Ce and Pb) in ambient air. The concentrations of PM10-bounded metals were measured simultaneously at eight air quality observatory sites during a half-year period at heavily trafficked roads and in urban residential zones in Bangkok, Thailand. Although the daily average concentrations of Al, V, Cr, Mn and Fe were almost equivalent to those of other urban cities around the world, the contents of the majority of the selected metals were much lower than the existing ambient air quality guidelines and standard limit values. The sequence of average values of selected metals followed the order of Al > Fe > Zn > Cu > Pb > Mn > Ba > V > Sb > Ni > As > Cr > Cd > Se > Ce > La > Co > Sc. The probability distribution function (PDF) plots showed sharp symmetrical bell-shaped curves in V and Cr, indicating that crustal emissions are the predominant sources of these two elements in PM10. The comparatively low coefficients of divergence (COD) that were found in the majority of samples highlight that site-specific effects are of minor importance. A principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that 37.74, 13.51 and 11.32 % of the total variances represent crustal emissions, vehicular exhausts and the wear and tear of brakes and tires, respectively.

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Acknowledgments

This work was performed with the approval of the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), Thailand, and financial support from the Department of Regional Activation, Faculty of Regional Policy, Takasaki City University of Economics, Japan. The author acknowledges the research staff from the Pollution Control Department (PCD), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), Thailand, for their contribution in the sampling and some laboratory work. The authors also acknowledge Ms. Mattanawadee Hattayanone and Ms. Thanpahtt Chaichombhoo for their contribution on graphic designs.

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Correspondence to Siwatt Pongpiachan.

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Pongpiachan, S., Iijima, A. Assessment of selected metals in the ambient air PM10 in urban sites of Bangkok (Thailand). Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 2948–2961 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5877-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5877-5

Keywords

  • Metals
  • PM10
  • Multivariate statistics
  • Enrichment factor
  • Bangkok