Mercury associated with size-fractionated urban particulate matter: three years of sampling in Prague, Czech Republic
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An analysis of suspended particulate matter, with an emphasis on the Hg chemical forms, is presented. Dust samples originating from an area highly affected by traffic pollution in the city of Prague (Czech Republic) were sampled over a period of three years from air-conditioner filters and fractioned by size. The samples were morphologically characterised by scanning electron microscopy. The main method used for the analysis of constituent mercury compounds was sequential extraction by leaching solutions in combination with thermal desorption. The total mercury content ranged from 0.37 mg kg−1 to 0.82 mg kg−1. It emerged that the mercury was distributed in a wide spectrum of forms, and various trends in the distribution of these forms among the different size classes were observed. The fraction leached by nitric acid (consisting of elemental and complex-bound mercury) was the main constituent of total mercury. The highest content of this fraction was observed in the finest particle size class. The heterogeneity of morphology of the material increased with the size fraction.
Keywordsmercury sequential extraction thermal desorption
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