Heavy metal levels and solid phase speciation in street dusts of Delhi, India

Anju D K Banerjee
Environmental Pollution 2003, 123 (1): 95-105
Street dust samples were collected from three different localities (industrial, heavy traffic and rural) situated in the greater Delhi area of India. The samples analyzed for Cd, Zn, Pb, Ni, Cu, and Cr indicated remarkably high levels of Cr, Ni, and Cu in the industrial area, whilst Pb and Cd did not show any discernible variations between the three localities. A multivariate statistical approach (Principal Component Analysis) was used to define the possible origin of metals in dusts. The street dusts were sequentially extracted so that the solid pools of Cd, Zn, Pb, Ni, Cu, Cr could be partitioned into five operationally defined fractions viz. exchangeable, bound to carbonates, bound to Fe-Mn oxides, bound to organic matter and residual. Metal recoveries in sequential extractions were +/- 10% of the independently measured total metal concentrations. Cd was the only metal present appreciably (27.16%) in the exchangeable fraction and Cu was the only metal predominantly associated (44.26%) with organic fraction. Zn (45.64%) and Pb (28.26%) were present mainly in the Fe-Mn oxide fraction and the residual fraction was the most dominant solid phase pool of Cr (88.12%) and Ni (70.94%). Assuming that the mobility and bioavailability are related to the solubility of geochemical forms of the metals and decrease in order of extraction, the apparent mobility and potential metal bioavailability for these highly contaminated street dust samples is: Cd>Zn approximately equal Pb>Ni>Cu>Cr.

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