The toxic effects of lead on human health and the environment have long been a focus of research. To explore sources of lead in Guangzhou, China, we investigated atmospheric lead-containing particles (LCPs) during wintertime using a single particle aerosol mass spectrometer (SPAMS). Based on mass spectral features, LCPs were classified into eight major particle types, including Pb-Cl and Pb-Cl-Li (coal combustion and waste incineration), Pb-Cl-EC and Pb-Cl-OC (diesel trucks and coal combustion), Pb-Cl-Fe (iron and steel industry), Pb-Cl-AlSi (dust), Pb-Sec (secondary formation), and Pb-Cl-Zn (industrial process); these sources (in parentheses) were identified by comparing atmospheric LCP mass spectra with authentic Pb emission source mass spectra. Sampling periods with LCP number fractions (NFs) more than three times the average LCP NF (APF = 4.35%) and below the APF were defined as high LCP NF periods (HLFPs: H1, H3, and H5) and low LCP NF APF periods (LLFPs: L2 and L4), respectively. Diurnal patterns and high Pb-Sec content during LLFPs indicate that photochemical activity and heterogeneous reactions may have controlled Pb-Sec particle formation. The inverse Pb-Cl and Pb-Sec particle diurnal trends during LLFPs suggest the replacement of Cl by sulfate and nitrate. On average over the five periods, ~ 76% of the LCPs likely arose from coal combustion and/or waste incineration, which were dominant sources during all five periods, followed by diesel trucks during LLFPs and iron- and steel-related sources during HLFPs; HLFP LCPs arose mainly from primary emissions. These results can be used to more efficiently control Pb emission sources and prevent harm to human and environmental health from Pb toxicity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis