Assessment of elemental concentrations in the urban air (case study: Tehran city).
Tehran is one of the megacities of the world with a population of over eight million. Its air is highly polluted mainly due to the suspended particulate matters, which encompasses a wide spectrum of chemical elements. These elements based on their type, size, and impact on the life cycle have various environmental and heath risks. In this research, the neutron activation method is used to determine the concentration levels of Al, Ba, Fe, Mg, and V in the urban air. Thus, two districts of Tehran with different characteristics are selected. District 21 includes much of the industries located in Tehran metropolitan and is considered as an industrial area. In contrast, district 22 lacks any significant industrial activity. It is a newly established and expanding district adjacent to district 21 with a great deal of constructional activities. For the measurement of the suspended particulate matters in the air, the various sections of the aforesaid districts with industrial, residential, heavily congested traffic, residential/commercial, residential/heavily congested traffic, and residential/industrial classifications were identified. Subsequently, 24 sampling stations were selected. The sampling of the suspended particulate matters was conducted with the aid of a high volume pump containing 125 mm cellulose filters in two different time intervals. After completion of the sampling process, the samples were prepared and sent to the research reactor of the Iran Nuclear Energy Organization for Neutron Activation. During the next steps, the radiations emitted from the samples were registered, the radiation curves were plotted, and the amounts of the trace elements were determined. As a result, the average concentration levels of Al, Ba, Fe, Mg, and V were identified to be 3.301140, 2.273658 x 10, 4.0681696 x 10(-1), 3.5525475 x 10(-1), and 3.04075 x 10(-2) microg/m(3), respectively. Moreover, the emission sources of the aforesaid elements into the air were identified. The concentration levels of these elements in the industrial and heavily congested traffic sections were higher. Finally, it was concluded that the statistical analysis of these elements presents a meaningful correlation among them.