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For over ten years, the Region of Lombardy has been keeping the level of total suspended dust (TSD) under control using a gravimetric measurement system as the official reference method, employed by stations in the air-quality monitoring network. An increasing number of stations have been equipped with new analysers to integrate TSD data over the past two years. Comparative measurements have shown substantial differences between the new analysers and the gravimetric reference method.

The present characterization and cross-comparison initiative had the dual aim of characterizing the particulate present in the atmosphere and comparing the measurement methods, both from a quantitative and qualitative point of view. During the initiative, which was spilt into two different summer and winter measuring periods, the concentration and composition of dust in the cities of Erba and Mantua were evaluated. In parallel, the total dust level (PM10 and PM2.5) was measured using various techniques and different equipment. Furthermore, the content of various fractions was characterized using highly sensitive and accurate analytical techniques. Thanks to the cooperation of several bodies and institutions, a key reference point for identifying correct strategies to measure dust has been established.

The initiative has provided an extensive high-quality database, with regard to both quantity (three fractions at two sites) and elemental characterization (10 types of metal). The database can be considered as a reference point for further analyses of the distribution of the particulate and other harmful elements, which will become part of European legislation.

Additional information

Authors: DE SAEGER E, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Environment Institute, Ispra (IT);TRINCHERINI P R, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Environment Institute, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19823 IT (2001), pp.70. Free of charge
Availability: Available from European Commission, JRC Knowledge Management Unit, Ispra (IT) Tel: +39 033278 9843 or +39 033278 9864 Fax: +39 033278 9623 E-mail:
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