A 14-year measurement of toxic elements in atmospheric particulates in Hong Kong from 1995 to 2008

Wei Nie, Tao Wang, Aijun Ding, Xuehua Zhou, Wenxing Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Toxic elements in the atmosphere can enter and accumulate in the human body, seriously impacting human health. In this study, we analyzed a 14-year (1995–2008) measurement of three toxic elements (As, Cd and Cr) in PM10in Hong Kong, China. The pollution of these toxic elements in Hong Kong was not serious. The trend analysis showed that As and Cr in PM10increased at a statistically significant level (p < 0.05) during the 14-year period, while the Cd in PM10did not change significantly. Typical seasonal variations were observed for all three toxic elements, largely in relation to the Asian monsoon. Hourly 10-day backward trajectories were computed and categorised into four groups. The continental air masses showed much higher concentrations of the three toxic elements than the marine air masses. The abundances of As and Cd in the PM10were much higher in the continental air masses than those in the marine air masses, while the abundances of Cr showed an opposite pattern. The trends of the three toxic elements in East China’s air mass were consistent with those in the overall data set of Hong Kong. Examination of the toxic element data recorded at urban sites and a roadside site also indicated a large contribution of external air masses to particulate As and Cd in Hong Kong. These results suggest that the long-range transport from the mainland of China is the dominant contributor to particulate As and Cd, while both local and long-distance sources determine the particulate Cr in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-560
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


  • air masses
  • increasing trends
  • long-distance sources
  • seasonal variations
  • toxic elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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