Jinhe Wang1, Shuang Zhang1, Xiaoguo Qiu2, Kai Li3, Jiarong Li4, Yangang Ren5,6, Chao Zhu This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Xi Zhang This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.7 

1 Resources and Environment Innovation Research Institute, School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Shandong Jianzhu University, Jinan 250101, China
2 Shandong Provincial Eco-environment Monitoring Center, Jinan 250101, China
3 Tai’an Eco-environmental Monitoring Center of Shandong Province, Tai’an 271021, China
4 Science and Technology Branch, Shandong Sport University, Jinan 250101, China
5 Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
6 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
7 Faculty of Environmental Engineering, The University of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 808-0135, Japan

Received: July 31, 2023
Revised: December 12, 2023
Accepted: December 12, 2023

 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.230165  

Cite this article:

Wang, J., Zhang, S., Qiu, X., Li, K., Li, J., Ren, Y., Zhu, C., Zhang, X. (2024). Characteristics and Health Risks of PM2.5-bound Metals in a Central City of Northern China: A One-year Observation Study. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 24, 230165. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.230165


  • PM2.5-bound metals were characterized based on a one-year sampling and analysis.
  • Cr, Pb, and Co were the dominant high-risk metals bound to PM2.5 in the studied city.
  • Residents faced non-carcinogenic risk and moderate carcinogenic risk due to metals.


Metals are important components of PM2.5, with significant implications for the ecological environment and human health. This study comprehensively investigated the characteristics of 19 metals in PM2.5 samples collected in Jinan from 16 December 2020 to 15 December 2021. The total concentration of the studied metals accounted for 5.3% of PM2.5 (41.7 µg m3) in Jinan. The seasonal variation of PM2.5-bound metals followed the order of spring (3.5 µg m–3) > winter (2.2 µg m–3) > summer (1.4 µg m–3) > autumn (1.1 µg m–3). Four sources could be extracted using the positive matrix factorization (PMF) model, namely resuspended dust (51.9%), oil combustion (19.9%), factories (16.5%), and traffic emissions (11.7%). According to the results of the enrichment factor (EF) and geo-accumulation (Igeo), Se, Sb, Tl, Ag, Cd, Zn, V, Pb, and Mo were mainly from anthropogenic sources, which was consistent with the PMF results. Applying the conditional bivariate probability function (CBPF), traffic emissions were found to be the main local contributor, with large contributions when the wind speed was lower than 2 m s–1. The environmental influence of PM2.5-bound metals was evaluated in terms of the ecological risk index, which was found to be higher than 600, indicating high ecological risk in Jinan. Regarding the human health risk, children were possibly more exposed to non-carcinogenic risks than adults, with hazard index (HI) values of 47.9 and 6.7, respectively. Moreover, the residents of Jinan were also exposed to moderate carcinogenic risk (children: 4.8 × 105, adults: 4.9 × 105), with Cr(VI), Pb, and Co as the dominant high-risk metals. Therefore, PM2.5-bound metal pollution in Jinan cannot be overlooked, and appropriate measures should be implemented.

Keywords: Metal pollution, Ecological risk, Anthropogenic sources, Human health risk, Oral ingestion

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