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Małgorzata Szynkowska and Aleksandra Pawlaczyk

The influence of mercury content on the structural changes of bioindicator surfaces

This work examines the recommended chemical analytical method for the identification and detecting mercury from the environmental media. The aim of this study was to establish a correlation between mercury content in different biological indicators like: human hair, mushrooms, lichen, moss and needle samples, and the changes in the structure of the investigated material. We have explored the possibilities of using the SEM method in environmental studies to investigate a variety of biological samples coming from areas at different pollution state. We have combined the information from the quantity measurements with the qualitative analysis. The total content of Hg was determined using the Automatic Mercury Analyzer SP-3D. The accuracy of the applied method was verified by an analysis of proper certificate materials: Mixed Polish Herbs INCT-MPH-2, Lichen CRM 482, Pine needles 1575a and Human Hair NCS ZC 81002. The obtained results proved a direct influence of the content of mercury and environmental pollution on the damage of the structure of the studied samples.

Open access

Małgorzata Szynkowska, Ewa Leśniewska, Aleksandra Pawlaczyk, Jacek Rogowski and Tadeusz Paryjczak

Application of the TOF-SIMS and SEM-EDS methods to assess the influence of dusting from a phosphate waste deposal place based on hair analysis

In this work, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS) and the time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) were used to study the particles present on the hair surface of the inhabitants of Wislinka (people environmentally exposed due to the closeness of a dump) in order to obtain the information about the possible influence of dusting from a phosphate waste deposal place. Additionally, the morphology and the composition of fresh phosphogypsum were analyzed. Waste phosphogypsum is formed in the process of a wet phosphoric acid production and there is still a problem with its storage. A thorough understanding of the composition and chemistry of phosphogypsum seems to be necessary to evaluate its environmental impact comprehensively. The results obtained from these two techniques turned out to be complementary and revealed the information expected.

Open access

Małgorzata Szynkowska, Ewa Leśniewska, Aleksandra Pawlaczyk, Jadwiga Albińska, Katarzyna Bawolak and Tadeusz Paryjczak

The mercury analysis in airborne particles emitted from coal-combustion processes

Determination of trace elements in combusted materials has always been an interesting field of environmental studies. Particulate matter, in particular, is a serious problem which, can lead to air pollution especially by heavy metals emissions in urban and industrial areas. There is a considerable concern about the elevated level of mercury released during combustion and the proportion of anthropogenic mercury in the environment. Nowadays, small-scale installations have been identified as a significant source-pathway for mercury pollution, particularly those that use coal. A total amount of mercury was determined using Mercury Analyzer. The investigated material consists of bottom ash, fly ash, slag, soot or dust. The obtained results varied according to the type of the material and plant. The developed methodology was checked by carrying out the analysis of certificate material of Soil NCS ZC 73001 and the reference material of Soil-7.