Hygroscopic Properties and Respiratory System Deposition Behavior of Particulate Matter Emitted by Mining and Smelting Operations

Jong Sang Youn, Janae Csavina, Kyle P. Rine, Taylor Shingler, Mark Patrick Taylor, Avelino E Saez, Eric Betterton, Armin Sorooshian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


This study examines size-resolved physicochemical data for particles sampled near mining and smelting operations and a background urban site in Arizona with a focus on how hygroscopic growth impacts particle deposition behavior. Particles with aerodynamic diameters between 0.056-18 μm were collected at three sites: (i) an active smelter operation in Hayden, AZ, (ii) a legacy mining site with extensive mine tailings in Iron King, AZ, and (iii) an urban site, inner-city Tucson, AZ. Mass size distributions of As and Pb exhibit bimodal profiles with a dominant peak between 0.32 and 0.56 μm and a smaller mode in the coarse range (>3 μm). The hygroscopicity profile did not exhibit the same peaks owing to dependence on other chemical constituents. Submicrometer particles were generally more hygroscopic than supermicrometer ones at all three sites with finite water-uptake ability at all sites and particle sizes examined. Model calculations at a relative humidity of 99.5% reveal significant respiratory system particle deposition enhancements at sizes with the largest concentrations of toxic contaminants. Between dry diameters of 0.32 and 0.56 μm, for instance, ICRP and MPPD models predict deposition fraction enhancements of 171%-261% and 33%-63%, respectively, at the three sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11706-11713
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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