STEFANIA IORDACHE, DANIEL DUNEA, CRISTIANA RADULESCU, IOANA DANIELA DULAMA, RADU IANACHE, MIRELA PREDESCU INVESTIGATION OF HEAVY METALS CONTENT IN AIRBORNE PARTICLES FROM PLOESTI, ROMANIA This study aims to evaluate the concentrations of heavy metals in airborne particulate matter (PM) collected in Ploiesti city (Romania) during the monitoring campaigns performed in 2015. Various health effects of airborne PM, from less serious to very serious ones, are often associated with its chemical speciation. The heavy metals bounded on PM may accumulate in human body by inhalation and can produce both short-term and long-term negative health effects especially in children and sensitive people. We investigated several heavy metals associated with PM2.5 collected in 12 relevant sampling points to estimate their potential impact on urban population health. PM samples were collected on 37 mm quartz fiberglass filters using a precision optical instrument i.e., DustTrak DRX8533EP. The deposition of elements on the surface of samples was determined using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The analysis and quantification of trace elements were performed using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). The experiments indicated that samples of PM contained heavy metals in the following order Zn > Ni > Cr > Pb > As > Cd. Monitoring of elemental composition in atmospheric particles can contribute to a better air quality management.
Keywords: PM2.5, nickel, chromium, arsenic, air quality mapping, scanning electron microscopy