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Science in the News
Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
- Selected papers from the 29th SEGH Conference on Environmental Geochemistry and Health 2014-10-01
- Platinum in PM2.5 of the metropolitan area of Mexico City 2014-10-01
The increase in platinum (Pt) in the airborne particulate matter with size ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5) in urban environments may be interpreted as result of the abrasion and deterioration of automobile catalyst. Nowadays, about four million vehicles in Mexico City use catalytic converters, which means that their impact should be considered. In order to evaluate the contribution of Pt to environmental pollution of the metropolitan area of Mexico City (MAMC), airborne PM2.5 was collected at five different sites in the urban area (NW, NE, C, SW, SE) in 2011 during April (dry-warm season), August (rainy season) and December (dry-cold season). Analytical determinations were carried out using a ICP-MS with a collision cell and kinetic energy discrimination. The analytical and instrument performance was evaluated with standard road dust reference material (BCR-723). Median Pt concentration in the analyzed particulate was is 38.4 pg m−3 (minimal value 1 pg m−3 maximal value 79 pg m−3). Obtained Pt concentrations are higher than those reported for other urban areas. Spatial variation shows that SW had Pt concentration significantly higher than NW and C only. Seasonal variation shows that Pt median was higher in rainy season than in both dry seasons. A comparison of these results with previously reported data of PM10 from 1991 and 2003 in the same studied area shows a worrying increase in the concentration of Pt in the air environment of MAMC.
- Urinary arsenic levels influenced by abandoned mine tailings in the Southernmost Baja California Peninsula, Mexico 2014-10-01
Gold has been mined at San Antonio-El Triunfo, (Baja California Sur, Mexico) since the 18th century. This area has approximately 5,700 inhabitants living in the San Juan de Los Planes and El Carrizal hydrographic basins, close to more than 100 abandoned mining sites containing tailings contaminated with potentially toxic elements such as arsenic. To evaluate the arsenic exposure of humans living in the surrounding areas, urinary arsenic species, such as inorganic arsenic (iAs) and the metabolites mono-methylated (MMA) and di-methylated arsenic acids (DMA), were evaluated in 275 residents (18–84 years of age). Arsenic species in urine were analyzed by hydride generation-cryotrapping-atomic absorption spectrometry, which excludes the non-toxic forms of arsenic such as those found in seafood. Urinary samples contained a total arsenic concentration (sum of arsenical species) which ranged from 1.3 to 398.7 ng mL−1, indicating 33 % of the inhabitants exceeded the biological exposition index (BEI = 35 ng mL−1), the permissible limit for occupational exposure. The mean relative urinary arsenic species were 9, 11 and 80 % for iAs, MMA and DMA, respectively, in the Los Planes basin, and 17, 10 and 73 %, respectively, in the El Carrizal basin. These data indicated that environmental intervention is required to address potential health issues in this area.