Trace-metal concentrations in African dust: effects of long-distance transport and implications for human health

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Edited by: Robert Gilkes and Nattaporn Prakongkep


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The Sahara and Sahel lose billions of tons of eroded mineral soils annually to the Americas and Caribbean, Europe and Asia via atmospheric transport. African dust was collected from a dust source region (Mali, West Africa) and from downwind sites in the Caribbean [Trinidad-Tobago (TT) and U.S. Virgin Islands (VI)] and analysed for 32 trace-elements. Elemental composition of African dust samples was similar to that of average upper continental crust (UCC), with some enrichment or depletion of specific trace-elements. Pb enrichment was observed only in dust and dry deposition samples from the source region and was most likely from local use of leaded gasoline. Dust particles transported long-distances (VI and TT) exhibited increased enrichment of Mo and minor depletion of other elements relative to source region samples. This suggests that processes occurring during long-distance transport of dust produce enrichment/depletion of specific elements. Bioaccessibility of trace-metals in samples was tested in simulated human fluids (gastric and lung) and was found to be greater in downwind than source region samples, for some metals (e.g., As). The large surface to volume ratio of the dust particles (<2.5 µm) at downwind sites may be a factor.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Trace-metal concentrations in African dust: effects of long-distance transport and implications for human health
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Australian Society of Soil Science
Contributing office(s) Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description 4 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Title 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Soil Solutions for a Changing World
First page 33
Last page 36
Conference Title 19th World Congress of Soil Science 2010
Conference Location Brisbane, Australia
Conference Date August 1-6 2010
Other Geospatial Emetteur Kati, Mali , Bamako, Mali, Flagstaff Hill, Tobago, and St. Croix, Virgin Islands
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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