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Open AccessArticle

Composition of Metallic Elements and Size Distribution of Fine and Ultrafine Particles in a Steelmaking Factory

1
Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, 09042 Monserrato, Italy
2
Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, Section of Public Health and Human Sciences, University of Brescia, 25123 Brescia, Italy
3
Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, I-03043 Cassino, Italy
4
International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane 4001, Australia
5
Department of Engineering, University of Naples “Parthenope”, 80133 Naples, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061192
Received: 26 April 2018 / Revised: 1 June 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Studies on Heavy Metals and Health)
Background: The characteristics of aerosol, in particular particle size and chemical composition, can have an impact on human health. Particle size distribution and chemical composition is a necessary parameter in occupational exposure assessment conducted in order to understand possible health effects. The aim of this study was to characterize workplace airborne particulate matter in a metallurgical setting by synergistically using two different approaches; Methodology: Analysis of inhalable fraction concentrations through traditional sampling equipment and ultrafine particles (UFP) concentrations and size distribution was conducted by an Electric Low-Pressure Impactor (ELPI+™). The determination of metallic elements (ME) in particles was carried out by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry; Results: Inhalable fraction and ME concentrations were below the limits set by Italian legislation and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH, 2017). The median of UFP was between 4.00 × 104 and 2.92 × 105 particles/cm3. ME concentrations determined in the particles collected by ELPI show differences in size range distribution; Conclusions: The adopted synergistic approach enabled a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the particles in steelmaking factories. The results could lead to a better knowledge of occupational exposure characterization, in turn affording a better understanding of occupational health issues due to metal fumes exposure. View Full-Text
Keywords: ultrafine particles; metallic elements; occupational exposure ultrafine particles; metallic elements; occupational exposure
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Marcias, G.; Fostinelli, J.; Catalani, S.; Uras, M.; Sanna, A.M.; Avataneo, G.; De Palma, G.; Fabbri, D.; Paganelli, M.; Lecca, L.I.; Buonanno, G.; Campagna, M. Composition of Metallic Elements and Size Distribution of Fine and Ultrafine Particles in a Steelmaking Factory. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1192.

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