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  • Author or Editor: M. Freitas x
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Abstract  

k0-Based instrumental neutron activation analysis (k0 INAA) was used to determine the concentrations of Cr, Fe, Co, Zn, Se, Sb and Hg in the vascular plantsCistus salvifolius andInula viscosa and in the lichenParmelia sulcata. The samples were collected in the neighbourhood of industrial complexes. The elemental accumulation in the vascular plants and the lichen are compared to optimize the choice of the bioaccumulator. It is concluded thatP. sulcata seems to be the best accumulator of the three species for the elements studied;Cistus salvifolius is sensitive to the contents of Zn, Fe, Cr and Sb in the air;Inula viscosa seems to accumulate Fe, Sb, Co, Cr and Zn. Nevertheless, it is concluded that lichen is a good air pollution indicator, while the vascular plants are not due to the large seasonal variations found in the elemental concentrations.

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Abstract  

This study aims to investigate whether known carcinogenic chemical elements in atmospheric deposition might be associated with child mortality due to leukemia in the Portuguese population. A Bayesian hierarchical model was used to explore the association between lichen biomonitoring measurements of four elements—As, Hg, Ni, Pb—and childhood leukemia death counts taken at small administrative units. This geographical epidemiological study found a non-significant positive association between the risk of childhood leukemia and levels of arsenic, mercury and lead, and a non-significant negative association between the disease and the level of nickel. Lead seems to show a weaker association with childhood leukemia than arsenic and mercury.

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Abstract  

k 0-Standardized INAA was applied to the determination of heavy elements in two lichen varieties of the speciesParmelia: caperata andsulcata. The aim was to find out differentiations between the two varieties concerning the accumulation of elements from the air. The samples were collected at about 70 locations randomly chosen in the whole country (Portugal). It was found a similar local variation for both species, between 20–25%. From the comparison it was observed thatParmelia sulcata accumulates larger amounts of most of the elements determined thanParmelia caperata; only Ca is more accumulated by thecaperata and Hg are similarly absorbed by both varieties. Therefore, it was concluded thatParmelia sulcata should be preferred as bioaccumulator when both varieties are present. Some pollution sources were identified, but the sampling net was too short to obtain an exhaustive identification. The quality control was made using NIST and IAEA reference materials: an accuracy of ±10% was found. The precision has also been estimated: it is better than 11% except for Hg (15%), Sr (13%), Ti (19%) and Mg (32%).

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Few dedicated attempts at comparing the monitoring performance of lower and higher plants have been carried out so far. As a contribution to such an issue, this paper looks into the relative magnitude of elemental signals from epiphytic lichens (Parmelia spp.) and olive tree (Olea europaea Linn.) bark, determined by INAA. A representative set of 12 elements - As, Ba, Br, Ca, Cl, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Sr, V, Zn - was used for an ab initio comparison between raw data and Rb-normalized data, using distribution-free statistics. Correlation analysis shows an overall improvement in the degree of association between bark and lichen signals when proceeding from raw data to relative enrichment. Apart from Cl, no element is enriched in lichens to a higher extent than in bark. Sign tests are quite conclusive: bark factors are either statistically greater than or equal to lichens'. These findings prompt a word of caution when dealing with biological monitoring data, without accounting for soil, rock or litter inputs into the biomonitors' elemental pools.

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Abstract  

Major, trace and rare earth elements have been measured in sediments of different layers to determine the controls of constituent minerals on the distribution of elements and sediment deposition environment in the Meghna river delta. The geochemical composition of sediments was enriched in SiO2, Ca, Mg and Ba and depleted in Al, Fe, Ti, Mn, and Sr relative to PAAS (Post-Archaen Average Shale) value. The X-ray diffraction and elemental analyses demonstrate the dominant presence of quartz, micas, feldspar, chlorite, amphibole and clay minerals in sediments. The very low contents of trace elements suggest that the oxic condition was more prevalent during sediment deposition of Pleistocene-Holocene period and reflect the massive chemical weathering by biogeochemical reactions. The enrichment of light rare earth elements and La/Yb ratio reflect the intense silicate weathering of crustal materials and the high sediment depositional rate in the Meghna river delta.

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Abstract  

The three-stage BCR sequential step reference extraction procedure was applied to the reference material BCR CRM 601, especially developed for fractionation studies. Extracted fractions were analyzed for Cr, Ni, Zn, Cd, and Pb, by k 0-standardized instrumental neutron activation (k 0 INAA) and proton induced X-ray emission (PIXE), and flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). Sample preparation procedures were developed for both k 0 INAA and PIXE techniques, related to the evaporation of the solutions in order to get solid samples for neutron and proton irradiation. Quality control was assessed by intercomparison of the analytical results obtained by the applied techniques, which included results for a few certified reference materials. In the extracted fractions, chromium concentration was not determined accurately by both nuclear techniques. Concerning Cd, Ni, Pb, and Zn, the results were in general in good agreement with the certified values and FAAS. Some incomplete separation of the residue might have occurred.

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Abstract  

Mass and elemental concentrations in PM10 and PM2.5 — airborne particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter below 10 μm and 2.5 μm, respectively — have been evaluated in mainland Portugal since 1993. The data herein refer to areas generally impacted by emissions from electrical power plants, either coal- or oil-fired, which are mostly large, state-of-the-art facilities. Background areas have been sampled as well, and results from one of them are given for comparison. Through the country, lead levels are well below the European enacted values, particularly since unleaded fuels became mandatory in the late 1990s. Nickel appears especially concentrated in PM2.5 and, apart from extreme cases (rural sites, coal-fired plants), its levels are not significantly different from place to place. Highest values for arsenic and mercury have been found in the vicinity of the coal-fired plants. Cadmium data, if only available for metropolitan Lisbon, seems to confirm the trend for anthropogenic elements appearing mainly in fine particulates.

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Abstract  

In order to calculate coincidence correction factors when measuring with a low-energy photon detector (LEPD), algorithms were developed for the description of the summing-out probabilities taking into account -LX in addition to - and -KX true-coincidences, where KX and LX can originate from internal conversion and electron capture. The accuracy of the calculation procedure is experimentally checked. The work presented here is part of an extension of the NAA k0-standardization to counting in a LEPD.

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Abstract  

Selenium daily intake was determined for two small groups of the Portuguese population, based on the analysis of duplicate diet portions. The total amount of food ingested during a day was collected for 18 workers of the Technological and Nuclear Institute (ITN-Sacavém) and for 6 females of Reguengos de Monsaraz, a small town in the south-eastern hinterland. The average selenium daily intake was 43 ± 20 and 32 ± 13 μg per person, respectively, both lower than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 55 μg day−1. Selenium in diet samples was determined by replicate sample neutron activation analysis (RSINAA). The method was considered accurate for the selenium determination.

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