Sunday, June 1, 2014

Scientists Found Hazardous Airborne Trace Metals In Hong Kong, Warns Public Health Crisis

Scientists who have been studying air pollutants taken in China including in Hong Kong reported that fine metallic particles are 10 to 20 time finer that in the United States.

The scientists conducting the study said that although the total PM2.5 levels in the city are lower compared to other urban places on the mainland, the levels contained higher concentration of trace metals that are hazardous to health.

About 20 percent of PM2.5 particle samples collected within the city have showed traces of metals including zinc. The latter is a dangerous element that poses threat to permanently damage DNA.

The attention of the public often focuses on PM2.5 levels. However, scientists have been keener with the impact of the composition of these particles. PM2.5 particles are the smallest elements measured. These usually lodge deep inside the lungs and are very hazardous to human health.

A team of scientists conducted a study on smog coming from China and Hong Kong. The team found out that there were two heavy concentrated trace metals found in the sample collected. Scientists said that heavy amounts of zinc and chromium are hazardous that could lead to a broad range of health issues including cancer and premature ageing.

High concentrations of trace metals present in the air can even cause harmful effects to human DNA. In extreme cases such as this, the human DNA is placed at higher risk that could be passed on to the next generations.

Scientists said that stricter environmental regulations must be imposed as high traces of metals could lead to serious public health hazards.

Environmental Science Professor Li Weijun at the Shandong University said that even as the general level of PM2.5 in China is higher than the United States by five to six times, the amount of airborne trace metals found could be higher by 10 or even 20 times.

Li and his team have been collecting samples across China, including the Inner Mongolia grasslands to Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, and examining them under electron microscopes. Li and his team have established possibly the biggest data bank of airborne trace metals in China.

Professor Li said that most of the PM2.5 pollution in Hong Kong came from factories and power plants located in the Pearl River Delta. Li’s team published a paper last year, “Environmental Science and Technology", where they discovered a total of 105 micrograms of iron per liter of water in their collected sample. The samples were taken from Mount Tai and 90mcg on Jiangxi’s Mount Lu. ©2014 Chinatopix All rights reserved.

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