Deep investigation on inorganic fraction of atmospheric PM in Mediterranean area by neutron and photon activation analysis

Pasquale Avino, Geraldo Capannesi, Maurizio Manigrasso, Alberto Rosada, Mario V. Russo

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Background: Anthropogenic activities introduce materials increasing levels of many dangerous substances for the environmental quality and being hazardous to human health. Major attention has been given to those elements able to alter the environment and endanger human health.The airborne particulate matter pollutant is considered one of the most difficult task in environmental chemistry for its complex composition and implications complicating notably the behavior comprehension. So, for investigating deeply the elemental composition we used two nuclear techniques, Neutron Activation Analysis and Photon Activation Analysis, characterized by high sensitivity, precision and accuracy. An important task has been devoted to the investigation of Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) of the methodology used in this study.This study was therefore extended as far back as possible in time (from 1965 until 2000) in order to analyze the trend of airborne concentration of pollutant elements in connection with the industrial and lifestyle growth during the entire period.Results: Almost all the elements may be attributed to long-range transport phenomena from other natural and/or anthropogenic sources: this behavior is common to all the periods studied even if a very light decreasing trend can be evidenced from 1970 to 2002. Finally, in order to investigate a retrospective study of elements in PM10 and their evolution in relationship with the natural or anthropogenic origins, we have investigated the Enrichment Factors. The study shows the EF trends for some elements in PM10 during four decades.Conclusions: The two nuclear techniques have allowed to reach elevated sensibility/accuracy levels for determining elements at very low concentrations (trace and ultra-trace levels). The element concentrations determined in this study do not basically show a significant level of attention from a toxicological point of view. © 2013 Avino et al.; licensee Chemistry Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number173
Pages (from-to)-
JournalChemistry Central Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)

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