A survey of heavy metal contents of rural and urban roadside dusts: comparisons at low, medium and high traffic sites in Central Scotland

Cowan, Nicholas; Blair, David; Malcolm, Heath; Graham, Margaret. 2021 A survey of heavy metal contents of rural and urban roadside dusts: comparisons at low, medium and high traffic sites in Central Scotland. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 28 (6). 7365-7378.

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Roadside dust can contain particulates enriched with potentially toxic elements (PTEs) as a result of the degradation of mechanical vehicular parts, tyre wear and combustion processes. To assess the potential accumulation of these metals in roadside areas, a snapshot study was carried out, investigating metal content at rural and urban locations in central Scotland. Samples of road dust were collected at six sites representing low, medium and high traffic intensity at rural and urban locations. The samples were separated based on particle size and analysed for heavy metal content using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) after acid digestion. The metals analysed were aluminium (Al), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn). The rural area measurements were carried out in West Lothian, approximately 13 to 17 miles west of the city of Edinburgh (UK). The urban area measurements were carried out in the southern part of the Edinburgh city district (UK). Concentrations of Cu, Cr and Zn were found to correlate with traffic intensity, although only Cu and Zn concentrations exceed recommended EC directive 86/278/EEC guidelines for urban runoff materials. The metal concentrations of small particles (0.45–20 μm) were exceedingly high in both Cu and Zn at areas of high traffic intensity, indicating potential areas of concern regarding health impacts for pedestrians and cyclists who are exposed to roadside dust on a regular basis.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0944-1344
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Publisher link (see Related URLs) provides a read-only full-text copy of the published paper.
Additional Keywords: lead, copper, zinc, vehicles, pollution,
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 30 Dec 2020 12:28 +0 (UTC)

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