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Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Nov 21;51(22):13502-13508. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b04119. Epub 2017 Nov 9.

Lead Isotopic Compositions of Selected Coals, Pb/Zn Ores and Fuels in China and the Application for Source Tracing.

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State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences , Wuhan 430074, China.
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Guiyang 550081, China.
State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University , Beijing 100084, China.
State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Sources and Control of Air Pollution Complex , Beijing 100084, China.
Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory, Wuhan Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, Ministry of Land and Resources , Wuhan 430223, China.
College of Mechanics and Materials, Hohai University , Nanjing 210098, China.


Lead (Pb) pollution emission from China is becoming a potential worldwide threat. Pb isotopic composition analysis is a useful tool to accurately trace the Pb sources of aerosols in atmosphere. In this study, a comprehensive data set of Pb isotopes for coals, Pb/Zn ores, and fuels from China was presented. The ratios of 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/206Pb in the coals were in the range of 1.114-1.383 and 1.791-2.317, similar to those from Europe, Oceania, and South Asia, but different from those from America (p < 0.01). The Pb/Zn ores had 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/206Pb in 1.020-1.183 and 2.088-2.309, less radiogenic than the coals. Leaded gasolines showed similar Pb isotopic compositions to Pb/Zn ores, with unleaded gasolines and diesels being mixed sources. The average Pb isotopic ratios of gasolines and diesels were significantly different (p < 0.01) from those of coals in China, leading to the possibility to discriminate Pb in fuels from in coals. Urban aerosols demonstrated similar Pb isotopic compositions to coals, Pb/Zn ores, and fuels in China. After removing the leaded gasoline, the Pb in aerosols is more radiogenic, supporting the heavy contribution of coal combustion to the atmospheric Pb pollution.

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