Concern about air pollution has been growing rapidly, with most of the focus on gaseous pollutants. Airborne particulates, especially small ones, are rapidly gaining attention due to their impact on human health, as smaller particles can be carried over long distances by wind and penetrate deep into the lungs, where contaminants can have direct interaction with lung tissue and the associated blood vessels. Airborne particulates are classified as PM10 for those with aerodynamic diameters less than 10 µm and PM2.5 for those with aerodynamic diameters less than 2.5 µm.
PM2.5 regulations have been implemented throughout the world, and in order to implement a regime to reduce the concentration of PM2.5, it is important to determine the origins of these particulates, hence the need to collect and analyze them.
ICP-MS is often the analytical instrument of choice for such applications due to its low detection limits and wide linear dynamic range. This work describes the collection, sample preparation and inorganic elemental analysis of atmospheric PM10 and PM2.5 using PerkinElmer’s NexION® ICP-MS.