U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Published in Environmental Science & Technology Vol. 42, No. 19, 2008.


Recent ice core measurements show lead concentrations increasing since 1970, suggesting new non automobile-related sources of Pb are becoming important worldwide (1). Developing a full understanding of the major sources of Pb and other metals is critical to controlling these emissions. During the March, 2006 MILAGRO campaign, single particle measurements in Mexico City revealed the frequent appearance of particles internally mixed with Zn, Pb, Cl, and P. Pb concentrations were as high as 1.14 μg/m3 in PM10 and 0.76 μg/m3 in PM2.5. Real time measurements were used to select time periods of interest to perform offline analysis to obtain detailed aerosol speciation. Many Zn-rich particles had needle-like structures and were found to be composed of ZnO and/or Zn(NO3)2·6H2O. The internally mixed Pb-Zn-Cl particles represented as much as 73% of the fine mode particles (by number) in the morning hours between 2-5 am. The Pb-Zn-Cl particles were primarily in the submicrometer size range and typically mixed with elemental carbon suggesting a combustion source. The unique single particle chemical associations measured in this study closely match signatures indicative of waste incineration. Our findings also show these industrial emissions play an important role in heterogeneous processing of NOy species. Primary emissions of metal and sodium chloride particles emitted by the same source underwent heterogeneous transformations into nitrate particles as soon as photochemical production of nitric acid began each day at ~7 am.