Size-resolved dust and aerosol contaminants associated with copper and lead smelting emissions: Implications for emission management and human health

Janae Csavina, Mark P. Taylor, Omar Félix, Kyle P. Rine, A. Eduardo Sáez, Eric A. Betterton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mining operations, including crushing, grinding, smelting, refining, and tailings management, are a significant source of airborne metal and metalloid contaminants such as As, Pb and other potentially toxic elements. In this work, we show that size-resolved concentrations of As and Pb generally follow a bimodal distribution with the majority of contaminants in the fine size fraction (<. 1. μm) around mining activities that include smelting operations at various sites in Australia and Arizona. This evidence suggests that contaminated fine particles (<. 1. μm) are the result of vapor condensation and coagulation from smelting operations while coarse particles are most likely the result of windblown dust from contaminated mine tailings and fugitive emissions from crushing and grinding activities. These results on the size distribution of contaminants around mining operations are reported to demonstrate the ubiquitous nature of this phenomenon so that more effective emission management and practices that minimize health risks associated with metal extraction and processing can be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-756
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume493
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 15 2014

Keywords

  • Arsenic and lead
  • Dust and aerosol
  • Dust transport
  • Mining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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