A systematic review on global pollution status of particulate matter-associated potential toxic elements and health perspectives in urban environment

  • Muhammad Ubaid Ali
  • Guijian LiuEmail author
  • Balal Yousaf
  • Habib Ullah
  • Qumber Abbas
  • Mehr Ahmad Mujtaba Munir
Review Paper


Airborne particulate matter (PM) that is a heterogeneous mixture of particles with a variety of chemical components and physical features acts as a potential risk to human health. The ability to pose health risk depends upon the size, concentration and chemical composition of the suspended particles. Potential toxic elements (PTEs) associated with PM have multiple sources of origin, and each source has the ability to generate multiple particulate PTEs. In urban areas, automobile, industrial emissions, construction and demolition activities are the major anthropogenic sources of pollution. Fine particles associated with PTEs have the ability to penetrate deep into respiratory system resulting in an increasing range of adverse health effects, at ever-lower concentrations. In-depth investigation of PTEs content and mode of occurrence in PM is important from both environmental and pathological point of view. Considering this air pollution risk, several studies had addressed the issues related to these pollutants in road and street dust, indicating high pollution level than the air quality guidelines. Observed from the literature, particulate PTEs pollution can lead to respiratory symptoms, cardiovascular problems, lungs cancer, reduced lungs function, asthma and severe case mortality. Due to the important role of PM and associated PTEs, detailed knowledge of their impacts on human health is of key importance.


Particulate matter PTEs Pollution Emission Health risk 



This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2014CB238903) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41672144 and 41402133). The authors greatly acknowledged the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), China, and The World Academy of Science (TWAS), Italy, for providing the CAS-TWAS President’s fellowship. We also greatly appreciate the thoughtful comments and valuable suggestions from anonymous reviewers for the improvement of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10653_2018_203_MOESM1_ESM.docx (192 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 191 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Ubaid Ali
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guijian Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Balal Yousaf
    • 1
    • 2
  • Habib Ullah
    • 1
  • Qumber Abbas
    • 1
  • Mehr Ahmad Mujtaba Munir
    • 1
  1. 1.CAS-Key Laboratory of Crust-Mantle Materials and the Environments, School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth EnvironmentThe Chinese Academy of SciencesXi’anPeople’s Republic of China

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