Rendiconti Online della Società Geologica Italiana - Vol. 46/2018

PM10: a potential source of secondary raw materials

Sara Marchionni (1), Martina Casalini (1), Francesco Capecchiacci (1,3), Matteo Zoppi (1,2), Jacopo Cabassi (3), Franco Tassi (1,3), Orlando Vaselli (1,3), Giovanni Pratesi (1), Luciano Giannini (1,3), Stefania Venturi (3), Stanislav Strekopytov (2), Maurizio Ulivi (1), Eleonora Braschi (3), Furio Forni (4), Roberto Scodellini (4) & Simone Tommasini (1)
(1) Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra Via Giorgio La Pira 4, 50121 Firenze, Italy. (2) Department of Science Facilities, the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road London SW7 5BD, UK. (3) CNR ? Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse, sezione di Firenze, Via G. La Pira 4, 50121 Firenze, Italy. (4) Regione Toscana, Politiche Ambientali, Energia e Cambiamenti Climatici, Via di Novoli 26, 50127 Firenze, Italy. Corresponding author e-mail:

Volume: 46/2018
Pages: 181-186


The increase of heavy metal concentrations in atmospheric aerosols, due to both natural and anthropogenic emissions, keeps high the interest around the resulting damages to health and to climate change. In this paper, we investigate the feasibility of using the atmospheric aerosol as a source of secondary raw materials, by estimating its contents in economically significant elements. We characterised the geochemical composition of the atmospheric aerosol of urban (Firenze), sub-urban (Arezzo), and rural (Piancastagnaio, Siena) areas in Tuscany, analysing common major, minor, and trace constituents of silicate rocks using inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission and mass spectrometry (ICP-AES and ICP-MS). We also determined the radiogenic isotope composition of the aerosols (Sr, Nd, and Pb) through thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS). Although the results indicate that elemental quantities are not at exploitable grade, we think that this challenge has more advantages than simply the recovery of inorganic pollutants dispersed into the atmosphere: with appropriate technologies, the designed industrial plant could also serve to drastically reduce the content of Volatile Organic Compounds occurring in atmosphere, especially in urban areas. Considering this perspective, benefits undoubtedly overwhelm the high-costs of the business, providing the most precious commodity for life: clean air for the next generations to be living in our Planet.


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