Atmospheric fall-out of metals around the Murano glass-making district (Venice, Italy)

Autores: Rossini, P.|Matteucci, G.|Guerzoni, S.
Fuente: Environmental science and pollution research
17 (1), 40-48

Background, aim and scope Murano?s glass-makers have held a monopoly on quality glass-making for centuries known all over the world. Artistic glass manufacture entails exposure to complex mixtures of pollutants, including metals. A few studies have reported high levels of trace elements in marine waters, sediments and mussels around Murano and shown that emissions from Murano glass-making workshops significantly influence air quality in the Venice area. Nevertheless, to date, there is very little information on atmospheric concentrations and virtually none on atmospheric deposition fluxes of trace elements around the island. This study presents data on the distribution of trace elements in the air and atmospheric depositions around Murano, based on a 2-year sampling period.
Materials and methods Airborne PM10 particulate matter was collected daily in the period December 2001?June 2003 (254 air samples), and atmospheric depositions were collected every 19 ± 6 days, in the period August 2001?July 2003 (38 samples) on the roof of the Experimental Glass Laboratory on the island of Murano. All samples were analysed by ICP-MS for As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se and Zn contents.
Results Atmospheric concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb, Se and Zn were 1?2 orders of magnitude greater on the island of Murano than in the nearest urban areas (Venice and Mestre), with values higher than those reported for European industrial sites. The atmospheric deposition fluxes of all elements were also higher in Murano than those detected by other studies in Venice and Mestre and in the Porto Marghera industrial zone, with As, Cd, Sb and Se 1?2 orders of magnitude higher.
Discussion In order to study the spatial variability of the atmospheric fall-out, data from other sampling stations belonging to Venice atmospheric deposition monitoring networks were used. A decreasing gradient from Murano to the closer leeward stations was observed for As, Cd and Se. Pb and Zn deposition fluxes in Venice were also comparable to those observed in the Porto Marghera industrial zone, thus, indicating a similar or even higher level of contamination. Principal component analysis confirmed significant contamination from the glassworks.
Conclusions As shown by our study, atmospheric loadings of metals around Murano are significant. These observations confirm that emissions from Murano also significantly influence atmospheric deposition in the Venice area. Specifically, the mean daily Cd flux in the most affected area, which includes the whole of the historic city centre of Venice, is ~18 µg m?2 day?1, i.e. more than 65 times higher than the Dutch limit and more than three times higher than that of Germany.
Recommendations and perspectives On the basis of our data, there is a clear-cut need for remedial action in the Lagoon of Venice. Monitoring is indispensable, so that the efficacy of remedial measures can be evaluated and appropriate information about risks for human health and well-being can be made available. The atmospheric compartment must also be considered by Italian and European law which, until now, has not yet established any standard for atmospheric deposition.

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