Element partitioning and potential mobility within surface dusts on buildings in a polluted urban environment, Budapest.

John McAlister, Bernard Smith, A. Torok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


A voluminous literature exists on the analysis of water-soluble ions extracted from gypsum crusts and patinas formed on building surfaces. However, less data is available on the intermediate dust layer and the important role its complex matrix and constituents play in crust/patina formation. To address this issue, surface dust samples were collected from two buildings in the city of Budapest. Substrate properties, different pollution levels and environmental variations were considered by collecting samples from a city centre granite building exposed to intense traffic conditions and from an oolitic limestone church situated in a pedestrian area outside and high above the main pollution zone. Selective extraction examines both water-soluble ions (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+, Cl-, NO3- SO42-) and selected elements (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Cr, Pb, Ni) from the water-soluble, exchangeable/carbonate, amorphous Mn, amorphous Fe/Mn, crystalline Fe/Mn, organic and residual phases, their mobility and potential to catalyse heterogeneous surface reactions. Salt weathering processes are highlighted by high concentrations of water-soluble Ca2+, Na+, Cl- and SO42-- at both sites. Manganese, Zn and Cu and to a lesser extent Pb and Ni, are very mobile in the city centre dust, where 30%, 54%, 38%, 11% and 11% of their totals are bound by the water-soluble phase, respectively. Church dust shows a sharp contrast for Mn, Zn, Cu and Pb with only 3%, 1%, 12% and 3% of their totals being bound by the water-soluble phase respectively. This may be due to (a) different environmental conditions at the church e.g. lower humidity (b) continuous replenishment of salts under intensive city centre traffic conditions (c) enrichment in oxidisable organic carbon by a factor of 4.5 and a tenfold increase in acidity in the city centre dust.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6780-6790
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution

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