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Open AccessArticle

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

Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, 09042 Monserrato, Italy
Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, Section of Public Health and Human Sciences, University of Brescia, 25123 Brescia, Italy
Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, I-03043 Cassino, Italy
International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane 4001, Australia
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;
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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