Characterizing Mineral Dusts and Other Aerosols from the Middle East – Part I: Ambient Sampling

Publication Information:

Engelbrecht, J.P., E.V. McDonald, J.A. Gillies, R.K.M. Jayanty, G.S. Casuccio and A.W. Gertler, “Characterizing Mineral Dusts and Other Aerosols from the Middle East – Part I: Ambient Sampling”, Inhalation Toxicology, Vol. 21(4), pp. 297-326, 2009. DOI: 10.1080/08958370802464273

Year: 2009

The purpose of the Enhanced Particulate Matter Surveillance Program was to provide scientifically founded information on the chemical and physical properties of dust collected over a period of approximately 1 year in Djibouti, Afghanistan (Bagram, Khowst), Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iraq (Balad, Baghdad, Tallil, Tikrit, Taji, Al Asad), and Kuwait (northern, central, coastal, and southern regions). Three collocated low-volume particulate samplers, one each for the total suspended particulate matter, < 10 micro m in aerodynamic diameter (PM(10)) particulate matter, and < 2.5 micro m in aerodynamic diameter (PM(2.5)) particulate matter, were deployed at each of the 15 sites, operating on a ‘1 in 6’ day sampling schedule. Trace-element analysis was performed to measure levels of potentially harmful metals, while major-element and ion-chemistry analyses provided an estimate of mineral components. Scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy was used to analyze the chemical composition of small individual particles. Secondary electron images provided information on particle size and shape. This study shows the three main air pollutant types to be geological dust, smoke from burn pits, and heavy metal condensates (possibly from metals smelting and battery manufacturing facilities). Non-dust storm events resulted in elevated trace metal concentrations in Baghdad, Balad, and Taji in Iraq. Scanning-electron-microscopy secondary electron images of individual particles revealed no evidence of freshly fractured quartz grains. In all instances, quartz grains had rounded edges and mineral grains were generally coated by clay minerals and iron oxides.


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