An Investigation on Heavy Metals in an Industrial Area in Greece


1 Laboratory of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Iroon Polytechniou 9, 15773 Athens, Greece

2 Bureau of Pollution and Environmental Quality Control of Development Association of Thriassion Plain, Elefsina, 19200 Athens, Greece


In the industrial area of Elefsis, Greece, aerosol samples from the atmosphere were collected using a stacked filter unit sampler, which separates the airborne particulate matter into coarse (PM2.5-10) and fine (PM2.5) size fractions. The samples collected during the period January 2005 to March 2006, were analyzed by anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV) and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) to determine the fine and coarse particulate concentrations of the heavy metals Zn, Pb, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn and Ni. Concerning the elements Pb, Cd and Ni regulated by the European Union, annual average concentrations were lower than the prospective assessment thresholds, while concentration levels of Mn were in compliance with the values proposed by the World Health Organization. The concentrations of PM10 particulates were about two times as that of the PM2.5 particulates. Additionally, the ratio of fine (PM2.5) to coarse (PM2.5-10) particle concentrations was 0.44, indicating enrichment in the coarse particulates. Fe and Zn concentrations were mostly in the coarse particulate mode. Furthermore, the Pb/Cd average ratio in coarse and fine airborne particulates suggests that Pb is emitted by car exhausts and mainly industrial sources. Moreover, correlation analysis between airborne particulate matter (PM) and toxic elements was carried out to investigate the sources that affect the presence of these elements in coarse and fine particulates.