Sources of Platinum Group Elements in the Environment

  • Sebastien RauchEmail author
  • Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


Platinum group elements (PGE, i.e. Pt, Pd, Rh, Ir, Ru, Os) are among the least abundant elements in the Earth’s continental crust. PGE concentrations in urban and roadside environments are, however, increasing as a result of anthropogenic emissions. Automobile catalysts are generally considered the main PGE source into the urban and roadside environments. We argue that most studies to date have been carried out with a presumption of potential sources, and this bias may have masked additional, yet unidentified PGE sources. Comparison of environmental records at urban locations suggests that PGE emissions reflect contributions from several sources, including automobile catalysts, industry and medical treatment centers. Coal combustion may also contribute to urban PGE fluxes. Environmental records at remote locations support contributions from such diverse sources. Estimates of PGE emissions, however uncertain, indicate that these diverse sources contribute significantly to the global PGE budget at the Earth’s surface.


Emission Rate Platinum Group Element Fossil Fuel Combustion Remote Environment Global Annual Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Barbante C, Veysseyre A, Ferrari C, Van de Velde K, Morel C, Capodaglio G, Cescon P, Scarponi G, Boutron C (2001) Greenland snow evidence of large scale atmospheric contamination for platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Environ Sci Technol 35:835–839CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barbante C, Schwikowski M, Doring T, Gaggeler HW, Schotterer U, Tobler L, Van De Velde K, Ferrari C, Cozzi G, Turetta A, Rosman K, Bolshov M, Capodaglio G, Cescon P, Boutron C (2004) Historical record of European emissions of heavy metals to the atmosphere since the 1650 s from Alpine snow/ice cores drilled near Monte Rosa. Environ Sci Technol 38:4085–4090CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ely JC, Neal CR, Kulpa CF, Schneegurt MA, Seidler JA, Jain JC (2001) Implications of platinum-group element accumulation along US roads from catalytic-converter attrition. Environ Sci Technol 35:3816–3822CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Esser BK, Turekian KK (1993) Anthropogenic osmium in coastal deposits. Environ Sci Technol 27:2719–2724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fritsche J, Meisel T (2004) Determination of anthropogenic input of Ru, Rh, Pd, Re, Os, Ir and Pt in soils along Austrian motorways by isotope dilution ICP-MS. Sci Total Environ 325:145–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Goldschmidt VM (1922) Der Stoffwechsel der Erde. Videnskapsselskapets Skrifter. I. Mat.-Naturv. Klasse 11:3–25Google Scholar
  7. Gomez B, Palacios MA, Gomez M, Morrison GM, Rauch S, McLeod C, Ma R, Caroli S, Alimonti A, Schramel P, Zischka M, Pettersson C, Wass U (2002) Platinum, palladium and rhodium contamination in airborne particulate matter and road dust of European cities. Risk assessment evaluation. Sci Total Environ 299:1–19Google Scholar
  8. Helmers E (1996) Elements accompanying platinum emitted from automobile exhaust catalysts. Chemosphere 33:405–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Helmers E (1997) Platinum emission rate of automobiles with catalytic converters - Comparison and assessment of results from various approaches. Environ Sci Pollut Res 4:100–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Helmers E, Kummerer K (1999) Anthropogenic platinum fluxes: Quantification of sources and sinks, and outlook. Environ Sci Pollut Res 6:150–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hoppstock K, Michulitz M (1997) Voltammetric determination of trace platinum in gasoline after Wickbold combustion. Anal Chim Acta 350:135–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jackson MT, Sampson J, Prichard HM (2010) Platinum-group elements in sewage sludge and incinerator as in the United Kingdom: Assessment of PGE sources and mobility in cities. Sci Total Environ 408:1276–1285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jarvis KE, Parry SJ, Piper JM (2001) Temporal and spatial studies of autocatalyst-derived platinum, rhodium, and palladium and selected vehicle-derived trace elements in the environment. Environ Sci Technol 35:1031–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Klee RJ, Greadel TE (2004) Elemental cycles: A status report on human or natural dominance. Annu Rev Environ Resour 29:69–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Konig HP, Hertel RF, Koch W, Rosner G (1992) Determination of Platinum Emissions from a 3-Way Catalyst-Equipped Gasoline-Engine. Atmos Environ A-Gen 26:741–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kummerer K, Helmers E, Hubner P, Mascart G, Milandri M, Reinthaler F, Zwakenberg M (1999) European hospitals as a source for platinum in the environment in comparison with other sources. Sci Total Environ 225:155–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lashka D, Striebel T, Daub J, Nachtwey M (1996) Platin im Regenfluß einer Straße. Umweltwissenschaften Schadstoff-Forschung 8:124–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lashka D, Nachtwey M (2000) Traffic-borne platinum pollution in municipal sewage treatment plants. In: Alt F, Zereini F (eds) Anthropogenic platinum group elements and their impact on man and the environment. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 25–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Matthey J (2013) Market data tables Accessed 28 Nov 2013
  20. Meisel T, Walker RJ, Morgan JW (1996) The osmium isotopic composition of the Earth’s primitive upper mantle. Nature 383:517–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Moldovan M, Palacios MA, Gomez MM, Morrison G, Rauch S, McLeod C, Ma R, Caroli S, Alimonti A, Petrucci F, Bocca B, Schramel P, Zischka M, Pettersson C, Wass U, Luna M, Saenz JC, Santamaria J (2002) Environmental risk of particulate and soluble platinum group elements released from gasoline and diesel engine catalytic converters. Sci Total Environ 296:199–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Moldovan M, Rauch S, Morrison GM, Gomez M, Palacios MA (2003) Impact of ageing on the distribution of platinum group elements and catalyst poisoning elements in automobile catalysts. Surf Interface Anal 35:354–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Moldovan M, Veschambre S, Amouroux D, Bénech B, Donard OFX (2007) Platinum, palladium, and rhodium in fresh snow from the Aspe Valley (Pyrenees Mountains, France). Environ Sci Technol 41:66–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Niskavaara H, Kontas E, Reimann C (2004) Regional distribution and sources of Au, Pd and Pt in moss and O-, B- and C-horizon podzol samples in the European Arctic. Geochemistry-Exploration Environment Analysis 4:143–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Noddack I, Noddack W (1931) Die Häufigkeit der Platinmetalle in der Erdrinde. Z phys Chem, Bodenstein-Festband, pp 890–894Google Scholar
  26. Oman CL, Finkelman RB, Tewalt SJ (1997) Concentration of platinum group elements in 122 U.S. Coal samples. USGS Open-File Report 97-53Google Scholar
  27. Pacyna JM (1984) Estimation of the atmospheric emissions of trace elements from anthropogenic sources in Europé. Atmos Environ 18:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Palacios MA, Gomez MM, Moldovan M, Morrison G, Rauch S, McLeod C, Ma R, Laserna J, Lucena P, Caroli S, Alimonti A, Petrucci F, Bocca B, Schramel P, Lustig S, Zischka M, Wass U, Stenbom B, Luna M, Saenz JC, Santamaria J (2000) Platinum-group elements: quantification in collected exhaust fumes and studies of catalyst surfaces. Sci Total Environ 257:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Peucker-Ehrenbrink B, Jahn BM (2001) Rhenium-osmium isotope systematics and platinum group element concentrations: Loess and the upper continental crust. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 2: 1061. doi: 10.109/2001GC000172
  30. Poirier A, Gariepy C (2005) Isotopic signature and impact of car catalysts on the anthropogenic osmium budget. Environ Sci Technol 39:4431–4434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Qi L, Zhou MF, Zhao Z, Hu J, Huang Y (2011) The characteristics of automobile catalyst-derived platinum group elements in road dusts and roadside soils: a case study in the Pearl River Delta region, South China. Environ Earth Sci 64:1683–1692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rauch S, Morrison GM, Motelica-Heino M, Donard OFX, Muris M (2000) Elemental associations and fingerprinting of traffic related metals in road sediments. Environ Sci Technol 34:3119–3123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rauch S, Hemond HF, Peucker-Ehrenbrink B (2004) Recent changes in platinum group element concentrations and osmium isotopic composition in sediments from an urban lake. Environ Sci Technol 38:396–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rauch S, Hemond HF, Peucker-Ehrenbrink B, Ek K, Morrison GM (2005a) Platinum group element concentrations and osmium isotopic composition in airborne particles from Boston, Massachusetts. Environ Sci Technol 39:9464–9470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rauch S, Hemond HF, Barbante C, Owari M, Morrison GM, Peucker-Ehrenbrink B, Wass U (2005b) Importance of automobile exhaust catalyst emissions for the deposition of platinum, palladium, and rhodium in the Northern Hemisphere. Environ Sci Technol 39:8156–8162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rauch S, Peucker-Ehrenbrink B, Molina LT, Molina MJ, Ramos R, Hemond HF (2006) Platinum group elements in airborne particles in Mexico city. Environ Sci Technol 40:7554–7560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rauch S, Kylander ME, Weiss DJ, Martinez-Cortizas A, Heslop D, Olid C, Mighall TM, Hemond HF (2010) Anthropogenic forcings on the surficial osmium cycle. Environ Sci Technol 44:881–887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rauch S, Fatoki OS (2010) Platinum and lead in South African road dust. In: Rauch et al. (eds) Highway and urban environment. Springer, The Netherlands, pp 161–166. ISBN 978-90-481-3043-6Google Scholar
  39. Rauch S, Fatoki OS (2013) Anthropogenic platinum enrichment in the vicinity of mines in the bushveld igneous complex. South Africa. Water Air Soil Pollution 224:1395. doi: 10.1007/s11270-012-1395-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ravizza GE, Bothner MH (1996) Osmium isotopes and silver as tracers of anthropogenic metals in sediments from Massachusetts and Cape Cod bays. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 60:2753–2763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reimann C, Niskavaara H (2006) Regional distribution of Pd, Pt and Au-emissions from the nickel industry on the Kola peninsula, NW-Russia, as seen in Moss and Hummus samples. In: Zereini F, Alt F (eds) Palladium emissions into the environment. Springer, Heidelberg, Germany, pp 53–70Google Scholar
  42. Rodushkin I, Engström E, Sörlin D, Pontér C, Baxter DC (2007) Osmium in environmental samples from Northeast Sweden. Part II. Identification of anthropogenic sources. Sci Total Environ 386:159–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schierl R, Rohrer B, Hohnloser J, Hohnloser H (1995) Long-term excretion in patients treated with cisplatin. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 36:75–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sen IS, Peucker-Ehrenbrink B (2012) Anthropogenic disturbance of element cycles at the earth’s surface. Environ Sci Technol 46:8601–8609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sen IS, Peucker-Ehrenbrink B, Geboy N (2013) Complex anthropogenic sources of platinum group elements in aerosols on Cape Cod, USA. Environ Sci Technol 47:10188–10196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tuit CB, Ravizza GE, Bothner MH (2000) Anthropogenic platinum and palladium in the sediments of Boston harbor. Environ Sci Technol 34:927–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wedepohl KH (1995) The composition of the continental-crust. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 59:1217–1232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zereini F, Dirksen F, Skerstupp B, Urban H (1998) Sources of anthropogenic platinum-group elements (PGE): Automotive catalysts versus PGE-processing industries. Environ Sci Pollut Res 5:223–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zereini F, Skerstupp B, Rankenburg K, Dirksen F, Beyer JM, Claus T, Urban H (2000) Anthropogenic emission of platinum- group elements (Pt, Pd and Rh) into the environment: con- centration, distribution and geochemical behaviour in soils. In: Alt F, Zereini F (eds) Anthropogenic platinum group elements and their impact on man and the environment. Springer, Berlin, pp 73–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zereini F, Alt F, Messerschmidt J, Von Bohlen A, Liebl K, Puttmann W (2004) Concentration and distribution of platinum group elements (Pt, Pd, Rh) in airborne particulate matter in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Environ Sci Technol 38:1686–1692CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringChalmers University of TechnologyGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Marine Chemistry and GeochemistryWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA

Personalised recommendations