Case-study: inorganic pollutants associated with particulate matter from an area near a petrochemical plant

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The area of Gela (Sicily, Italy) contains one of the largest petroleum refineries in Europe and also has several oil fields both onland and offshore. This paper discusses how the oil refinery and traffic-related air pollution affect the chemical composition ofairborne particulate matter over the town of Gela, usingpine needles and urban road dust as the means of survey. Forty-onesamples of pine needles from Pinus halepensis (Mill.) and two composite samples of roadway dust, each subdivided into six sizefractions, were analyzed for major and trace elements. Information on the natural or anthropogenic origin of the observed heavymetals was deduced from factor analysis and element distribution maps. Factor analysis was applied to a data set of 20 elementconcentrations in pine needles and identified three main sources of metals: soil, vehicle traffic, and industrial emissions. Thepetrochemical plant appears to be associated with raised levels of As, Mo, Ni, S, Se, V, and Zn. Similarly, enhanced Cu, Pb, Pt, Pd,Sb, and partly Zn concentrations are closely associated with traffic. High correlations between Ni and V, As and Se, and Pb and Sbwere observed. Element distribution maps, showinga decrease in heavy metal contents immediately farther inland, confirm thatlocal sources play a considerable role in heavy metal pollution. Morphological alterations and accumulation of phenols wereobserved in sections of Pinus halepensis needles collected from sites with high traffic density and industrial emissions.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)18-30
Numero di pagine13
RivistaEnvironmental Research
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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