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      Environmental and health implications of Pb-bearing particles in settled urban dust from an arid city affected by Pb–Zn factory emissions

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          Abstract

          Metal-rich particles originating from non-ferrous metallurgical activities are the primary source of atmospheric metals in urban environments. These particles vary in size, morphology, and elemental compositions and they undergo weathering processes that alter their composition and affect their toxicity. This study focuses on lead (Pb)-rich particles in settled urban dust within an arid and dusty city, Torreón in North Mexico, affected by Met–Mex Peñoles complex, one of the world's largest Ag–Cd–Pb–Zn smelting and refining facilities in operating since 1901. Torreón is characterized by arid conditions, temperature fluctuations, and low humidity. Dry atmospheric particles were collected in 2015 and 2017 from Torreón's urban area within a 3 km radius of the Met–Mex Peñoles complex. We used various analytical techniques, including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) to determine the size, morphology, elemental composition and mineralogy of Pb-bearing particles. Our analysis revealed a range of Pb-bearing particle sizes and morphologies with varying Pb (0.3 to 51–87.2%) and other element contents, such as As (0.04 to 1–3.4%), Cd (0.4 to 3.3–5.1%), Cu (0.51–14.1%), Hg (ND-0.6%), and Zn (1.7 to 79–90.3%). XRD analysis confirmed the presence of Pb and Zn sulfides, Pb carbonates, Pb sulfate, and Pb oxides in urban dust, both as individual particles and agglomerates. Primary Pb minerals were linked to fugitive feed concentrates and smelter flue gas at Met–Mex Peñoles, while secondary Pb minerals, like Pb carbonates, Pb sulfate, and Pb oxides, resulted from direct emissions and weathering processes. Compared to galena, secondary Pb minerals exhibit higher chemical availability in the environment, posing greater risks to the environment and human health. As the particles analyzed are presumed to be resuspended rather than freshly emitted by Met–Mex, the presence of secondary Pb minerals in settled urban dust is predominantly linked to weathering processes. The physical and chemical transformations in Pb-rich particles contribute to increased Pb bioavailability and toxicity in urban dust, with substantial implications for environmental and human health. These findings highlight the potential consequences of weathered Pb-rich particle in urban areas, particularly in the arid and dusty city of Torreón.

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          A review on the importance of metals and metalloids in atmospheric dust and aerosol from mining operations.

          Contaminants can be transported rapidly and over relatively long distances by atmospheric dust and aerosol relative to other media such as water, soil and biota; yet few studies have explicitly evaluated the environmental implications of this pathway, making it a fundamental but understudied transport mechanism. Although there are numerous natural and anthropogenic activities that can increase dust and aerosol emissions and contaminant levels in the environment, mining operations are notable with respect to the quantity of particulates generated, the global extent of area impacted, and the toxicity of contaminants associated with the emissions. Here we review (i) the environmental fate and transport of metals and metalloids in dust and aerosol from mining operations, (ii) current methodologies used to assess contaminant concentrations and particulate emissions, and (iii) the potential health and environmental risks associated with airborne contaminants from mining operations. The review evaluates future research priorities based on the available literature and suggest that there is a particular need to measure and understand the generation, fate and transport of airborne particulates from mining operations, specifically the finer particle fraction. More generally, our findings suggest that mining operations play an important but underappreciated role in the generation of contaminated atmospheric dust and aerosol and the transport of metal and metalloid contaminants, and highlight the need for further research in this area. The role of mining activities in the fate and transport of environmental contaminants may become increasingly important in the coming decades, as climate change and land use are projected to intensify, both of which can substantially increase the potential for dust emissions and transport.
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            Advances in Evaluating the Oral Bioavailability of Inorganics in Soil for Use in Human Health Risk Assessment

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              Thoracic and respirable particle definitions for human health risk assessment

              Background Particle size-selective sampling refers to the collection of particles of varying sizes that potentially reach and adversely affect specific regions of the respiratory tract. Thoracic and respirable fractions are defined as the fraction of inhaled particles capable of passing beyond the larynx and ciliated airways, respectively, during inhalation. In an attempt to afford greater protection to exposed individuals, current size-selective sampling criteria overestimate the population means of particle penetration into regions of the lower respiratory tract. The purpose of our analyses was to provide estimates of the thoracic and respirable fractions for adults and children during typical activities with both nasal and oral inhalation, that may be used in the design of experimental studies and interpretation of health effects evidence. Methods We estimated the fraction of inhaled particles (0.5-20 μm aerodynamic diameter) penetrating beyond the larynx (based on experimental data) and ciliated airways (based on a mathematical model) for an adult male, adult female, and a 10 yr old child during typical daily activities and breathing patterns. Results Our estimates show less penetration of coarse particulate matter into the thoracic and gas exchange regions of the respiratory tract than current size-selective criteria. Of the parameters we evaluated, particle penetration into the lower respiratory tract was most dependent on route of breathing. For typical activity levels and breathing habits, we estimated a 50% cut-size for the thoracic fraction at an aerodynamic diameter of around 3 μm in adults and 5 μm in children, whereas current ambient and occupational criteria suggest a 50% cut-size of 10 μm. Conclusions By design, current size-selective sample criteria overestimate the mass of particles generally expected to penetrate into the lower respiratory tract to provide protection for individuals who may breathe orally. We provide estimates of thoracic and respirable fractions for a variety of breathing habits and activities that may benefit the design of experimental studies and interpretation of particle size-specific health effects.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                martin@ola.icmyl.unam.mx
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                2 December 2023
                2 December 2023
                2023
                : 13
                : 21287
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Unidad Académica Mazatlán, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, ( https://ror.org/01tmp8f25) Mazatlán, Sinaloa México
                [2 ]Tecnológico Nacional de México/Instituto Tecnológico de Mazatlán, ( https://ror.org/0460tzy11) Mazatlán, Sinaloa México
                [3 ]Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, ( https://ror.org/032y0n460) Cuernavaca, Morelos México
                [4 ]Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, ( https://ror.org/01tmp8f25) Mexico City, México
                [5 ]Laboratorio de Cristalografía y Materiales Naturales, Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, ( https://ror.org/01tmp8f25) Mexico City, México
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7584-3684
                Article
                48593
                10.1038/s41598-023-48593-5
                10693616
                38042928
                7a6f3891-df58-45a4-a6bc-7207c3635d68
                © The Author(s) 2023

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 12 September 2023
                : 28 November 2023
                Funding
                Funded by: PASPA-DGAPA-UNAM 2018-2019.
                Categories
                Article
                Custom metadata
                © Springer Nature Limited 2023

                Uncategorized
                environmental chemistry,environmental impact,environmental sciences
                Uncategorized
                environmental chemistry, environmental impact, environmental sciences

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