Special Issue on 2019 Asian Aerosol Conference (AAC)

Xiaoteng Zhou 1,2, Vladimir Strezov1,2, Yijiao Jiang1,3, Xiaoxia Yang1,3, Jing He2, Tim Evans1,2

ARC Research Hub for Computational Particle Technology, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia
School of Engineering, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia


Received: October 31, 2019
Revised: December 10, 2019
Accepted: December 17, 2019

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.10.0552 

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Cite this article:

Zhou, X., Strezov, V., Jiang, Y., Yang, X., He, J. and Evans, T. (2020). Life Cycle Impact Assessment of Airborne Metal Pollution near Selected Iron and Steelmaking Industrial Areas in China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20: 1582–1590. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.10.0552


  • Life Cycle Impact Assessment model was used to evaluate impacts of PM pollution.
  • Trace element contents at PM1.1 presented high risks to human and ecosystem.
  • Traffic-related vanadium contamination was found at coarse PM fractions.
  • Airborne Cu and Zn were major contributors to aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicity.
  • The Pb contamination at three PM fractions contributed to 19–88% of human toxicity.


Toxic metals in particulate matter pose a significant health risk to humans via inhalation and dermal exposure. Additionally, airborne pollution has negative impacts on terrestrial and aquatic quality as a result of atmospheric deposition. Iron and steelmaking industry is considered as a major contributor to airborne metal pollution. Given that China has been the largest steel producer and consumer since 1996, a detailed investigation of airborne metal pollution is required to assess the potential risks to both human health and ecosystem quality near iron and steelmaking areas in China. This study applied an environmental impact assessment approach to evaluate the freshwater ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, marine ecotoxicity and human toxicity caused by metal concentrations in PM1.1, PM1.1-2.1 and PM2.1-9.0 fractions. Results showed that heavy metals Cu and Zn associated with steelmaking activities were largely responsible for aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicity. This study also found that As and Pb contamination presented the largest fraction of the impacts on human toxicity. Findings presented in this study showed that more stringent control measures are required to improve the environmental performance of the iron and steelmaking industries in China.

Keywords: PM1; PM2.5; Human toxicity; Aquatic ecotoxicity; Terrestrial ecotoxicity.

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20:1582-1590. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.10.0552 

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