Petrochemical industries represent a controversial although important economical resource. They offer a great dealof job opportunities producing also a development of several areas. However, such kind of industrial plants areresponsible for the change of the environmental background through the emission of toxic pollutants such as metalsmetalloidsand organic compounds. People living in cities close to such industrial plants are particularly exposed to asevere environmental decline, which implies the deterioration of the quality of air, soil, water and food with theconsequent human health concerns.The municipalities of Gela (GL) and Pace del Mela (PM), located respectively along the Mediterranean southerncoast and Tyrrhenian northern coast of Sicily, hosting large petroleum refineries, have been declared “areas at high riskof environmental crisis”, since 1986. The purpose of this study was to assess whether the degree of human exposure totrace elements in young subjects living in these towns may be revealed by hair analysis. Nineteen elements (Al, As, Ba,Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, Se, Sr, U, V and Zn) were analysed by inductively coupled massspectrometry (ICP-MS) in 245 samples of human scalp hair collected from adolscents (11-14 years old) of bothgenders. The obtained results were compared with those from other less polluted areas.The distributions of Al, As, Ba, Cd, Cu, Mo, Ni, Sr, U, V and Zn pointed to a common origin of these elements,likely related to the petrochemical plants and to collateral anthropogenic activities, confirming findings of other authorscarried out at Gela on samples of pine needles and road dust showing high concentrations of V, Ni, As near theindustrial plants and Zn, Pb, Sb and Cu in the vicinity of the urban area. Other studies performed on lichen samples,soils and fruit products at Pace del Mela showed anomalies for As, Cr, Pb, Zn, Ni and V, as well as humanbiomonitoring studies conducted on blood and urine samples, at GL and PM, showed accumulation of As, Ni, Cr andCd.Our data were compared to those from the urban center of Palermo (Sicily), where a similar study was conducted onyoung students of the same age. The results suggested that Al, Ba, Li, Mo, Rb, Sb, Se and Zn are comparable, whereasAs, Cr, Mn, Sr, U and V are higher in the industrial areas than in Palermo city. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA)indicated an industrial factor made up As, Sr, U and V, and a second factor, concerning the urban site, characterized byCd, Cu, Ni, and Mo.The results obtained in this study evidence the dispersal of heavy metals close to petrochemical plants and alsoconfirm that hair analysis can be used as a screening procedure where environmental exposure are of concern.
|Numero di pagine||1|
|Rivista||RENDICONTI ONLINE DELLA SOCIETÀ GEOLOGICA ITALIANA|
|Volume||35 suppl 2|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2015|