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Distribution, sources and health risk assessment of mercury in kindergarten dust

Sun, Guangyi, Li, Zhonggen, Bi, Xiangyang, Chen, Yupeng, Lu, Shuangfang, Yuan, Xin
Atmospheric environment 2013 v.73 pp. 169-176
atmospheric chemistry, children, cities, emissions, geographic information systems, industry, iron, kindergarten, landfills, mercury, methylmercury compounds, municipal solid waste, pollution, risk, risk assessment, steel, urban areas, China
Mercury (Hg) contamination in urban area is a hot issue in environmental research. In this study, the distribution, sources and health risk of Hg in dust from 69 kindergartens in Wuhan, China, were investigated. In comparison with most other cities, the concentrations of total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) were significantly elevated, ranging from 0.15 to 10.59 mg kg−1 and from 0.64 to 3.88 μg kg−1, respectively. Among the five different urban areas, the educational area had the highest concentrations of THg and MeHg. The GIS mapping was used to identify the hot-spot areas and assess the potential pollution sources of Hg. The emissions of coal-power plants and coking plants were the main sources of THg in the dust, whereas the contributions of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills and iron and steel smelting related industries were not significant. However, the emission of MSW landfills was considered to be an important source of MeHg in the studied area. The result of health risk assessment indicated that there was a high adverse health effect of the kindergarten dust in terms of Hg contamination on the children living in the educational area (Hazard index (HI) = 6.89).