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Concentrations of selected toxic elements in airborne particulates of Patras, Greece

  • Authors
    Bloutsos A.
    Yannopoulos P.
Abstract

The Mn and Pb of the total suspended particulates (TSP) in totally 95 1-h samples and As, Cd, Mn,
Ni and Pb in totally 29 24-h samples have been determined by flameless graphite furnace atomic
absorption spectrophotometry. The monthly TSP for July 1992 contained Mn and Pb 0.033 and
1.25‰ in downtown Patras and 0.029 and 1.50‰ at the University Campus, correspondingly. The
corresponding As, Cd, Mn, Ni and Pb contents for October 1992 were 0.060, 0.0038, 0.079, 0.087
and 1.67‰ in downtown Patras and 0.534, 0.0087, 0.012, 0.204 and 0.68‰ at the University
Campus. Only As monthly levels had exceeded the European Air Quality Standard of 6 ng m-3. Toxic
element proportions have weak correlations to traffic. Patras data showed Pb levels 0.216±0.115 μg
m-3, smaller than other Greek cities, following expected decay rate. Factor analysis has detected
three factors explaining more than 85.0% of variance: 1. Mostly correlated to Pb, Cd and Ni, pointing
out road and harbour traffic; 2. mostly correlated to Mn and TSP, indicating central heating, ship
emissions, soil re-suspension and background contributions; and 3. mostly correlated to As
(Spearman correlation also shows it), denoting spray disinfections. The lack of data for Patras,
especially for As, makes present findings historically useful, as they entail more systematic
monitoring nowadays and could be valuable for epidemiological and environmental assessment
studies.