Metals And Metalloids In Atmospheric Dust: Use Of Lead Isotopic Analysis For Source Apportionment
AuthorFelix Villar, Omar Ignacio
AdvisorSaez, Avelino Eduardo
Betterton, Eric A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMining activities generate aerosol in a wide range of sizes. Smelting activities produce mainly fine particles (<1 μm). On the other hand, milling, crushing and refining processes, as well tailings management, are significant sources of coarse particles (>1 μm). The adverse effects of aerosols on human health depend mainly on two key characteristics: size and chemical composition. One of the main objectives of this research is to analyze the size distribution of contaminants in aerosol produced by mining operations. For this purpose, a Micro-Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor (MOUDI) was utilized. Results from the MOUDI samples show higher concentrations of the toxic elements like lead and arsenic in the fine fraction (<1 μm). Fine particles are more likely to be deposited in the deeper zones of the respiratory system; therefore, they are more dangerous than coarse particles that can be filtered out in the upper respiratory system. Unfortunately, knowing the total concentration of contaminants does not give us enough information to identify the source of contamination. For this reason, lead isotopes have been introduced as fingerprints for source apportionment. Each source of lead has specific isotopic ratios; by knowing these ratios sources can be identified. During this research, lead isotopic ratios were analyzed at different sites and for different aerosol sizes. From these analyses it can be concluded that lead isotopes are a powerful tool to identify sources of lead. Mitigation strategies could be developed if the source of contamination is well defined. Environmental conditions as wind speed, wind direction, relative humidity and precipitation have an important role in the concentration of atmospheric dust. Dry environments with low relative humidity are ideal for the transport of aerosols. Results obtained from this research show the relationship between dust concentrations and meteorological parameters. Dust concentrations are highly correlated with relative humidity and wind speed. With all the data collected on site and the analysis of the meteorological parameters, models can be develop to predict the transport of particles as well as the concentration of contaminants at a specific point. These models were developed and are part of the results shown in this dissertation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College