Petrochemical industries represent a controversial although important economical resource. They offer a great deal of job opportunities producing also a development of several areas. However, such kind of industrial plants are responsible for the change of the environmental background through the emission of toxic pollutants such as metalsmetalloids and organic compounds. People living in cities close to such industrial plants are particularly exposed to a severe environmental decline, which implies the deterioration of the quality of air, soil, water and food with the consequent human health concerns. The municipalities of Gela (GL) and Pace del Mela (PM), located respectively along the Mediterranean southern coast and Tyrrhenian northern coast of Sicily, hosting large petroleum refineries, have been declared “areas at high risk of environmental crisis”, since 1986. The purpose of this study was to assess whether the degree of human exposure to trace elements in young subjects living in these towns may be revealed by hair analysis. Nineteen elements (Al, As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, Se, Sr, U, V and Zn) were analysed by inductively coupled mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) in 245 samples of human scalp hair collected from adolscents (11-14 years old) of both genders. The obtained results were compared with those from other less polluted areas. The distributions of Al, As, Ba, Cd, Cu, Mo, Ni, Sr, U, V and Zn pointed to a common origin of these elements, likely related to the petrochemical plants and to collateral anthropogenic activities, confirming findings of other authors carried out at Gela on samples of pine needles and road dust showing high concentrations of V, Ni, As near the industrial plants and Zn, Pb, Sb and Cu in the vicinity of the urban area. Other studies performed on lichen samples, soils and fruit products at Pace del Mela showed anomalies for As, Cr, Pb, Zn, Ni and V, as well as human biomonitoring studies conducted on blood and urine samples, at GL and PM, showed accumulation of As, Ni, Cr and Cd. Our data were compared to those from the urban center of Palermo (Sicily), where a similar study was conducted on young students of the same age. The results suggested that Al, Ba, Li, Mo, Rb, Sb, Se and Zn are comparable, whereas As, Cr, Mn, Sr, U and V are higher in the industrial areas than in Palermo city. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) indicated an industrial factor made up As, Sr, U and V, and a second factor, concerning the urban site, characterized by Cd, Cu, Ni, and Mo. The results obtained in this study evidence the dispersal of heavy metals close to petrochemical plants and also confirm that hair analysis can be used as a screening procedure where environmental exposure are of concern.

Varrica, D., Tamburo, E., Dongarrà, G. (2015). Influence of industrial activity on metal and metalloid contents in scalp hair of adolescents. RENDICONTI ONLINE DELLA SOCIETÀ GEOLOGICA ITALIANA, 35 suppl 2(35 suppl. 2), 319-319.

Influence of industrial activity on metal and metalloid contents in scalp hair of adolescents

VARRICA, Daniela;TAMBURO, Elisa;DONGARRA', Gaetano
2015

Abstract

Petrochemical industries represent a controversial although important economical resource. They offer a great deal of job opportunities producing also a development of several areas. However, such kind of industrial plants are responsible for the change of the environmental background through the emission of toxic pollutants such as metalsmetalloids and organic compounds. People living in cities close to such industrial plants are particularly exposed to a severe environmental decline, which implies the deterioration of the quality of air, soil, water and food with the consequent human health concerns. The municipalities of Gela (GL) and Pace del Mela (PM), located respectively along the Mediterranean southern coast and Tyrrhenian northern coast of Sicily, hosting large petroleum refineries, have been declared “areas at high risk of environmental crisis”, since 1986. The purpose of this study was to assess whether the degree of human exposure to trace elements in young subjects living in these towns may be revealed by hair analysis. Nineteen elements (Al, As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, Se, Sr, U, V and Zn) were analysed by inductively coupled mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) in 245 samples of human scalp hair collected from adolscents (11-14 years old) of both genders. The obtained results were compared with those from other less polluted areas. The distributions of Al, As, Ba, Cd, Cu, Mo, Ni, Sr, U, V and Zn pointed to a common origin of these elements, likely related to the petrochemical plants and to collateral anthropogenic activities, confirming findings of other authors carried out at Gela on samples of pine needles and road dust showing high concentrations of V, Ni, As near the industrial plants and Zn, Pb, Sb and Cu in the vicinity of the urban area. Other studies performed on lichen samples, soils and fruit products at Pace del Mela showed anomalies for As, Cr, Pb, Zn, Ni and V, as well as human biomonitoring studies conducted on blood and urine samples, at GL and PM, showed accumulation of As, Ni, Cr and Cd. Our data were compared to those from the urban center of Palermo (Sicily), where a similar study was conducted on young students of the same age. The results suggested that Al, Ba, Li, Mo, Rb, Sb, Se and Zn are comparable, whereas As, Cr, Mn, Sr, U and V are higher in the industrial areas than in Palermo city. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) indicated an industrial factor made up As, Sr, U and V, and a second factor, concerning the urban site, characterized by Cd, Cu, Ni, and Mo. The results obtained in this study evidence the dispersal of heavy metals close to petrochemical plants and also confirm that hair analysis can be used as a screening procedure where environmental exposure are of concern.
Settore GEO/08 - Geochimica E Vulcanologia
Il Pianeta Dinamico: sviluppi e prospettive a 100 anni da Wegener
Firenze
2-4 settembre 2015
Varrica, D., Tamburo, E., Dongarrà, G. (2015). Influence of industrial activity on metal and metalloid contents in scalp hair of adolescents. RENDICONTI ONLINE DELLA SOCIETÀ GEOLOGICA ITALIANA, 35 suppl 2(35 suppl. 2), 319-319.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/145487
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