Characteristics of Atmospheric Particulate Matter and Metals in Industrial Sites in Korea

Rupak Aryal, Aeri Kim, Byeong-Kyu Lee, Mohammad Kamruzzaman, Simon Beecham


The distribution of metals in atmospheric particulates less than 10 µm was studied at a petrochemical refinery site and at a non-ferrous heavy metals industrial site in the city of Ulsan, South Korea in both the summer and fall seasons. The samples were collected with a high volume sampling system equipped with a 9 stage cascade impactor, which effectively separated the particulate matter into 9 size ranges. Total PM10 was 59 ± 14 µg/m3 in summer and 56 ± 18 µg/m3 in fall at the petrochemical site whereas it was 52 ± 14 µg/m3 in summer and 88 ± 36µg/m3 in fall at the non-ferrous heavy metals site. The particle size fractionation in less than 10 µm showed a typical bimodal distribution, with one peak corresponding to the particle size range of 1.1-4.7 µm and the other to the range of 4.7-10 µm. Five heavy metals (Ni, Cu, Zn, Pb, and Cd) were measured in the composite mixture of particulates (0.1-1.1, 1.1-4.7 and 4.7-10 µm). The heavy metals concentrations were found to be higher in the 1.1-4.7 µm fraction followed by 4.7-10 and 0.1-1.1 µm. Among the metals Pb showed particle size dependent whereas Zn was homogeneously mixed in all sizes. The obtained data are important for an estimation of level pollution with heavy metals in industrial sites.

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Environment and Pollution   ISSN 1927-0909 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0917 (Online)  Email:

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