Uzu, Gaëlle and Sobanska, Sophie and Sarret, Géraldine and Sauvain, Jean-Jacques and Pradère, Philippe and Dumat, Camille Characterization of lead-recycling facility emissions at various workplaces: Major insights for sanitary risks assessment. (2011) Journal of Hazardous Materials, vol. 186 (n°2-3). pp. 1018-1027. ISSN 0304-3894
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.11.086
Most available studies on lead smelter emissions deal with the environmental impact of outdoor particles, but only a few focus on air quality at workplaces. The objective of this study is to physically and chemically characterize the Pb-rich particles emitted at different workplaces in a lead recycling plant. A multiscale characterization was conducted from bulk analysis to the level of individual particles, to assess the particles properties in relation with Pb speciation and availability. Process PM from various origins were sampled and then compared; namely Furnace and Refining PM respectively present in the smelter and at refinery workplaces, Emissions PM present in channeled emissions. These particles first differed by their morphology and size distribution, with finer particles found in emissions. Differences observed in chemical composition could be explained by the industrial processes. All PM contained the same major phases (Pb, PbS, PbO, PbSO4 and PbO·PbSO4) but differed on the nature and amount of minor phases. Due to high content in PM, Pb concentrations in the CaCl2 extractant reached relatively high values (40mgL−1). However, the ratios (soluble/total) of CaCl2 exchangeable Pb were relatively low (<0.02%) in comparison with Cd (up to 18%). These results highlight the interest to assess the soluble fractions of all metals (minor and major) and discuss both total metal concentrations and ratios for risk evaluations. In most cases metal extractability increased with decreasing size of particles, in particular, lead exchangeability was highest for channeled emissions. Such type of study could help in the choice of targeted sanitary protection procedures and for further toxicological investigations. In the present context, particular attention is given to Emissions and Furnace PM. Moreover, exposure to other metals than Pb should be considered.
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