Peng-Hui Li1, Shao-Fei Kong1, Chun-Mei Geng2, Bin Han 1,3, Bing Lu1, Ru-Feng Sun1, Ruo-Jie Zhao1, Zhi-Peng Bai1,2

  • 1 College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin, China
  • 2 Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 3 College of Mathematics Science, Nankai University, Tianjin, China

Received: April 13, 2012
Revised: September 4, 2012
Accepted: September 4, 2012
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Cite this article:
Li, P.H., Kong, S.F., Geng, C.M., Han, B., Lu, B., Sun, R.F., Zhao, R.J. and Bai, Z.P. (2013). Assessing the Hazardous Risks of Vehicle Inspection Workers’ Exposure to Particulate Heavy Metals in Their Work Places. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 13: 255-265.



Exposure of on-duty vehicle inspection workers to heavy metals in Beijing was investigated from April 18 to May 17, 2011. Particulate samples were collected by personal environmental monitors during vehicle inspectors’ work time, and were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) for V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Cd and Pb. The results showed that in three vehicle inspection lines, Zn was the most abundant element, accounting for over 45% of the total metal concentration. Cr and Pb were the next most abundant compositions. The geoaccumulation index and enrichment factor analysis showed that Cr, Zn, As, Cd and Pb exhibited heavy or extreme contamination and significant enrichment, indicating the influence of anthropogenic sources. Mn and Co were mostly non-enriched and were mainly influenced by crustal sources. Ni and V presented moderate or heavy contamination, and were influenced by both crustal materials and anthropogenic sources. Principle component analysis revealed that the major sources were vehicle emissions, re-suspended dust and industrial processes. Cr and Mn could trigger adverse non-cancer health effects. The median values of incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) of inhalation exposure route were estimated to be 2.59 × 10–5, 5.56 × 10–5 and 1.01 × 10–4, respectively for gasoline, bus, and diesel inspection workers, respectively. The ILCR was higher than the acceptable risk level of 10–6, indicating an unacceptable potential cancer risk.

Keywords: Heavy metals; Source analysis; Risk assessment; Vehicle inspection

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