Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 185–198 | Cite as

Fractionation and Biotoxicity of Heavy Metals in Urban Dusts Collected from Hong Kong and London

  • W.H Wang
  • M.H. Wong
  • S. Leharne
  • B. Fisher


Samples of urban dusts, road site dusts and car park dusts, were collected at two selected sites each in Hong Kong and London. Sequential extraction was used to characterise the chemical compositions of these urban dusts. Copper, lead, zinc, pH, electrical conductivity and organic content were measured. Biotoxicity tests of urban dusts were conducted on higher plants (Brassica chinensis and Lolium perenne), a dinoflagellate green alga (Dunaliella tertiolecta) and luminescent bacteria (Photobacterium phosphoreum). A significant correlation was found between total lead (r =; – 0.70, p < 0.01) and zinc (r =; – 0.74, p < 0.05), and the 20 min – EC50 using P. phosphoreum. In addition, there was a significant correlation (r = – 0.72, p < 0.01) between the exchangeable lead content in dust and the 48 h- EC30 using D. tertiolecta. No specific trend was obtained for higher plants. Total lead and zinc contents were higher in dusts from London while the percentage of exchangeable fraction of metal contents was higher in those from Hong Kong.

Bioassay tests chemical characterisation Cu Pb sequential extraction street dust Zn 


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Copyright information

© Chapmann and Hall 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • W.H Wang
    • 1
  • M.H. Wong
    • 2
  • S. Leharne
    • 1
  • B. Fisher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Greenwich, Medway Campus, ChathamKentEngland
  2. 2.Department of Biology and Institute for Natural Resource and Waste ManagementHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong

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