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Abstract  

Over a 1,000 pairs of coarse and fine filters were collected using Gent samplers and polycarbonate filters from three sites in Islamabad from the period 1998 to 2010. The black carbon in these samples was determined by reflectance measurement while their elemental composition were determined using the techniques of instrumental neutron activation analysis, ion beam analysis and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Islamabad is a well planned and relatively small city as compared to Lahore or Karachi therefore its air quality is better than the air quality of other major Pakistani cities. It was found that the new air quality standards being implemented by the Pakistani government on the 1st of January 2012 may not be attained even in Islamabad without the implementation of control and remedial measures. An overview of the elemental data obtained and calculation of enrichment factors shows that the particles in Islamabad originate from re-suspended soil, vehicular emissions and coal combustion. However further work is required for identification of pollution sources and their origin.

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Abstract  

The rare earth elements (REEs) content of Kakul phosphate rock (PR) from different localities of the main Hazara deposits of Pakistan were determined using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). 25 phosphorite samples were collected from different phosphorite sites and 6 samples representing different batches from the crushing plant near Kakul Mine. Concentrations of seven REEs (Ce, Eu, La, Lu, Sm, Tb and Yb) were determined in the PR samples. The highest amounts of Heavy and light rare earth elements (HREE and LREE) were quantified in the PR samples collected at the Phosphate Rock Crushing Plant while the lowest amounts of these REEs were measured in the Lambidogi Phosphorite deposit samples. Comparison with global data showed the REEs content of the studied PRs show lower range for all REEs and mostly comparable to the data reported by Israel and Syria. Calculated chondrite ratio for these elements depicts enrichment of LREEs in all phosphorite deposits.

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Abstract  

Sensitive nondestructive instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) technique has been applied for the determination of rare earth elements (REEs) (Ce, Eu, La, Lu, Sm, Tb and Yb) in phosphate rocks (PR) and granulated single super-phosphate (GSSP) fertilizer samples from Hazara district of Pakistan. The comparison of the PR with product fertilizers shows that most of the quantified REEs were found to be in lower contents in the fertilizers. Six fertilizer samples with different N, P and K ratio for distinctive application to plants were also characterized. The REEs in these showed irregular patterns that can be attributed to difference in their manufacturing and chemical processes. The REEs contents of local phosphate fertilizer were found to be lower in comparison to the values cited in the literature; however Ce is relatively high. For quality assurance fair agreement was found between the results obtained for reference materials IAEA SL-1 (Lake Sediment) and GSJ-JR-1 (Rhyolite).

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Abstract  

INAA and AAS techniques have been employed to determine 40 elements in soil of a municipal waste dump in sector H-11, Islamabad. Background soil was also analyzed to study the extent of contamination of the dump site soil. Most of the major elements in these soils represented the geochemical composition of the soil in this area. The enrichment factors for quantified elements identified high Sb and Mg contents that could be attributed to the presence of PET and food materials in the waste. Geo-accumulation Index (I geo), Pollution Index (PI) and the Integrated Pollution Index (IPI) have also been calculated for all elements. The values for these indices show that municipal waste has distorted the soil ambiance and the soil of waste dump site is slightly to moderately polluted as compared to the background soil. The dump soil was found to be moderately polluted by the elements Ba, Br, Ga, Rb, Zn, Ni and Pb. Significantly high Cu, Mg and Sb contamination was observed for the waste soil that is likely to pose an environmental issue if current waste disposal procedures are continuously employed.

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Abstract  

A non-destructive neutron activation analysis technique has been developed for the determination of hafnium and zirconium in low grade uranium ores. In order to calculate the fission contribution of235U, thermal neutron absorption cross-section / a/ for94Zr has been determined. The study shows that 1 g of uranium produces the same activity as from 10.03 g of zirconium. Based on this fact, the degree of interferences have been calculated for each sample and the necessary corrections have been applied. The values have been compared with the reported IAEA and NBS values.

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Abstract  

Size fractionated PM2.5 and PM2.5–10 airborne particulates collected from the airport housing society site in Rawalpindi were characterized using the non destructive ion beam analysis method. Proton induced X-ray emission and Proton induced gamma ray emission were employed to quantify 28 trace elements in fine and coarse filter samples. The average PM2.5 and PM2.5–10 masses were found to be 15.7 and 144 μg/m3, respectively which, when combined exceed the Pakistani limit for PM10 of 100 μg/m3. The average black carbon (BC) content was found to be 3.49 and 5.95 μg/m3 corresponding to 23.8 and 4.30% of the fine and coarse masses, respectively. The reconstructed mass (RCM) was calculated for both particle modes using 5 pseudo sources, namely soil, sulfate, smoke, sea salt and BC. It was found that 5 sources could account for 80.6 and 49.0% of the fine and coarse masses, respectively. The low value of RCM for the coarse mode may imply a much higher organic content. The major sources contributing to the fine mode were soil, sulfate and BC. Similarly for the coarse mass fraction it was found that soil was the major source whereas the sulfate and BC sources did not contribute as much.

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Abstract  

Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and electro-thermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS) were employed to determine the toxic elements in fourteen fruits harvested in Pakistan. As, Br, Hg, Sb and Se were determined using INAA. Cadmium and Pb were determined using ETAAS. The intake levels of all toxic elements have been calculated. The data show that dates supply the maximum amount of most of the toxic elements. Peels of apple and pear have also been investigated and were found to contain higher concentration of toxic elements than their edible parts. The reliability of the techniques has been established by the use of standard reference materials. This study shows that all investigated fruits cultivated and consumed in Pakistan are safe for human consumption.

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Abstract  

This paper presents the results of the proficiency test exercise conducted in Pakistan for the determination of trace elements in mushroom reference material. Thirteen laboratories from different organizations of the country submitted trace elemental data on Al, As, Br, Ca, Cd, Ce, Cl, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Fe, Hg, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Na, P, Pb, Rb Sc, Si, Sm, Sr, Th, Zn. Results for Al, As, Br, Ca, Cd, Cl, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Rb Sc, and Zn, in the mushroom material were reported by two or more participating laboratories and could be subjected to statistical evaluation. The original data of these trace elements was subjected to a computer program “Histo Version 2.1” provided by IAEA. The four outlier tests, i.e., Dixon, Grubbs, skewness and kurtosis were applied to the data sets. Consensus (overall) mean values, absolute standard deviation, relative standard deviation, standard error, median and range of values for these elements have been reported at a significance level of 0.05.

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Abstract  

The concentration of 32 elements was determined in phosphate rock samples from the Hazara phosphate deposits of Pakistan using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) technique employing different irradiation protocols. These included 23 major, minor and trace elements (Al, As, Ba, Br, Co, Cr, Cs, Fe, Ga, Hf, K, Mn, Na, Rb, Sb, Sc, Sn, Ta, Th, U, V, Zn and Zr) and 9 rare earth elements (REEs) namely Ce, Eu, Ho, La, Lu, Nd, Sm, Tb and Yb. The results have been compared with the global values of these elements. The concentrations for most of the elements studied are lower than the concentrations reported in the literature whereas the concentrations of As, Co, Fe, K, Mn, Na and Sb are comparable. Two samples namely HR-4 and HR-5 have the highest concentrations for majority of the REFs with high enrichment factors. The quality assurance of data was performed through the concurrent use of Lake Sediment (SL-1) and GSJ-JR-1 (Rhyolite) reference materials. The acquired data will serve as a reference for the follow-up studies to assess the agronomic effectiveness of the Hazara phosphate rocks.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: A. Qureshi, A. Sultan, A. Rashid, M. Ali, A. Waheed, S. Manzoor, M. Baloch, Matiullah, S. Batool, and H. Khan

Abstract  

Mount Arafat is a sacred place for Muslims. It has been classified as a granodiorite rock which mainly consists of feldspar and quartz, muscovite, etc. During the Hajj and Umra, Muslims visit this holly place and stay there for some time. In order to study the geology and thermal history as well as to assess the radiological hazards due to the presence of primordial radionuclides, systematic studies using petrographic, fission track dating and γ-spectrometric (HPGe) techniques were carried out. Our study yielded fission track age of 9.13 ± 1.05 Ma of the Mount Arafat granodiorite. Rifting, magmatism, volcanism and sea floor spreading that resulted in the formation of Red Sea seems may have altered the original age of the Arafat granodiorite under study to 9.13 ± 1.05 Ma. Measured radioactivity concentrations due to 226Ra, 232Th and 40K were found to be 10.75 ± 3.92, 29.21 ± 4.34 and 664.49 ± 7.45 Bq kg−1, respectively. From the measured radioactivity, gamma index (Iγ) and radium equivalent (Raeq) were calculated as 0.402 and 103.23 Bq kg−1 whereas outdoor external dose (Dout) and annual effective dose (Eout) were estimated to be 40.30 nGyh−1 and 0.045 mSvy−1 respectively. All the above mentioned values are well below the recommended limits. The Mount Arafat thus does not pose any radiological health hazard to the general public.

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