Concurrently measured concentrations of atmospheric mercury in indoor (household) and outdoor air of Basel, Switzerland

Wohlgemuth, Lena and McLagan, David and Flückiger, Benjamin and Vienneau, Danielle and Osterwalder, Stefan. (2020) Concurrently measured concentrations of atmospheric mercury in indoor (household) and outdoor air of Basel, Switzerland. Environmental Science and Technology Letters, 7 (4). pp. 234-239.

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Indoor air pollution can be a major health risk because urban populations spend up to 90% of their time in closed rooms. Gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) has not been measured as routinely as other indoor air pollutants due to the high costs and limited mobility of active Hg analyzers. However, household GEM concentrations may exceed Hg air quality guidelines as a result of potential indoor GEM sources like broken Hg thermometers. Here we deploy novel low-cost mercury passive air samplers (MerPAS) in 27 households (7 days) and at 14 outdoor locations (29−31 days) in Basel, Switzerland. Average Hg concentrations ranged from 2.0 to 10.8 ng m −3 indoors and from 1.8 to 2.5 ng m −3 outdoors. These results reveal that households are a net source of Hg to the urban atmosphere and exceed outdoor Hg levels by a factor of 2 on average. We estimated an average weekly intake rate of 0.01 μg of Hg/kg of body weight for adult residents in Basel, which is usually lower than Hg exposure of people with dental amalgam fillings. Our campaign demonstrates that air monitoring programs can easily be complemented by straightforward Hg measurements using MerPAS.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften (Alewell)
UniBasel Contributors:Wohlgemuth, Lena and Osterwalder, Stefan and Flückiger, Benjamin
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:American Chemical Society
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:29 Jul 2022 03:10
Deposited On:27 Apr 2020 15:39

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