Evaluation of industrial sources contribution to atmospheric particulate matter


  • Silvia Canepari Dipartimento di Chimica - Sapienza Università di Roma Istituto sull’Inquinamento Atmosferico C.N.R., Monterotondo St. (Roma)
  • Cinzia Perrino Istituto sull’Inquinamento Atmosferico C.N.R., Monterotondo St. (Roma)




Atmospheric particulate matter, chemical characterization, industrial source contribution, source tracers


The paper describes a method for the evaluation of the contribution of specific industrial sources to atmospheric particulate matter (PM). The method is based on the full chemical characterization of PM, obtained by an integrated use of different analytical techniques; the results are then interpreted by considering the dilution properties of the lower atmosphere, traced by the measurement of natural radioactivity. The determination of the main components of PM (macro-elements, ions, elemental carbon, organic matter) allows a satisfactory mass closure. Major chemical components are then grouped into the main macro-sources of PM: soil, sea-spray, inorganic compounds from secondary reactions, vehicular emission, organics. Minor sources, which usually include industrial emissions, are identified by minor and trace elements. Total elemental concentrations are chemically fractionated by solubility; this allows an increase in their selectivity as source tracers and an estimation of their bioavailability and environmental mobility. Suitable tracers of the studied industrial plants are selected by studying the variability of their daily concentration and by evaluating their spatial distribution. The effects due to the variations of both meteo-climatic conditions and emission rates are uncoupled by considering the dilution properties of the lower atmosphere; each tracer is thus associated to occasional or constant sources and to local or diffused sources.


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