Coarse particulate matter apportionment around a steel smelter plant

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The results from a study carried out in the urban area of Genoa, Italy, where a large steel smelter recently shut down are presented. We had the opportunity to sample particulate matter (PM) before and after plant closure and, therefore, to measure the changes in concentration and composition of PM10 (atmospheric PM with aerodynamic diameter  10  m). Elemental concentrations of Na to Pb were obtained through energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF), and the contributions of specific sources of PM10 were calculated by positive matrix factorization (PMF). The PM10 average concentration turned out to be surprisingly similar before and after closing of the smelter. Nevertheless, the comparison among data collected in the two periods (plant operating and closed), even with the limited information provided by ED-XRF, allowed us to single out two sources of PM related to the smelter activities, to extract their emission profile, and to quantify the impact of the plant on PM10 levels.

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