Trace elements in PM2.5 in Gothenburg, Sweden
Journal article, 2010
Ambient aerosol particles smaller than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) are getting more and more attention worldwide. While legal focus is mainly on sample mass, the composition of the particles is an important research field gaining increased interest. The interest is not only connected to possible health effects of the elemental content of the particles, but the elemental determination can also add valuable information for source apportionment. Samples were collected during 20 days in November 2007 at the campus of the Chemistry Department, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. The particles were collected using a cyclone that separates the PM2.5 particles from the air stream and impacts them on polycarbonate filters. Filters were changed at early afternoon. The samples were analyzed for particulate mass, black carbon (BC) and the elements S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, As, Br, Cd and Pb. Several of the elements were above detection limit in only a few of the samples. Total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) spectrometer based on the Wobi TXRF module supplied by the International Atom Energy Agency (IAEA) has been used for the determination of most trace elements in the samples. A Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (GF-AAS) was used for complementary trace element analysis and a reflectometer was used to analyze black carbon. Before elemental analysis the filters were digested using a microwave digestion system with temperature and pressure control. The results showed a large variation in sample mass, BC and analyzed elemental concentrations. The variation of the different constituents did not show the same pattern. This added to the picture of different sources for different pollutants. The highest S concentration was noted on a day when the air masses were determined to come from the southeast, i.e. Poland and some other Eastern European countries. From the results it can be concluded that more work is needed on the TXRF spectrometer to optimize it for determination of the EU legally regulated elements As, Ni, Pb and Cd. Despite this the study shows that there is no problem in meeting the AAQS limits for Cd and Pb in Gothenburg.