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Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 98, Issue 1–3, pp 235–259 | Cite as

Characterisation of Airborne Particulate Pollution in The Cu Smelter and Former Mining Town of Karabash, South Ural Mountains of Russia

  • B. J. Williamson
  • V. Udachin
  • O. W. Purvis
  • B. Spiro
  • G. Cressey
  • G. C. Jones
Article

Abstract

Airborne total suspended particulates (TSP), dusts from smelter blast furnace and converter stacks, and filtrates of snow melt waters have been characterised in the Cu smelter and former mining town of Karabash, Russia. TSP was collected at sites up- and downwind of the smelter and large waste and tailings dumps (Oct. 2000 and July 2001). Methods for particle size, mineralogical and elemental determinations have been tested and described, and a new PSD-MicroSOURCE™ XRD technique developed for the mineralogical analysis of microsamples on filter substrates. TSP in downwind samples has a mean equivalent spherical diameter of 0.5 μm (s.d. = 0.2) and was found to be 100% respirable. The main element of human health/environmental concern, above Russian maximum permitted levels (1 μg m-3, average over any time period), was Pb which was measured at 16–30 μg m-3 in downwind samples. Individual particulates mainly consisted of complexmixtures of anglesite (PbSO4), Zn2SnO4 and poorly ordered Zn sulphates. From experimental and theoretical considerations,a high proportion of contained Pb, Zn, Cd and As in this material is considered to be in a readily bioavailable form. Chemical and mineralogical differences between the TSP, stack dusts and snow samples are discussed, as well as the implications for human and regional environmental health.

airborne particulate Karabash respirable smelter TSP 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. J. Williamson
    • 1
  • V. Udachin
    • 2
  • O. W. Purvis
    • 1
  • B. Spiro
    • 1
  • G. Cressey
    • 1
  • G. C. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.The Natural History MuseumLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of MineralogyRussian Academy of SciencesMiassRussia

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