The 1991 Gulf Crisis had the potential to enhance atmospheric metal concentrations and this study was designed to investigate this probability. Total suspended (TSP) and inhalable (PM10) particulate were collected and analyzed for lead, titanium and zinc which were determined in aliquot samples using an inductively coupled argon plasma analyzer (ICAP). Significant (P < 0.01) daily variations were found for lead, titanium and zinc concentrations (expressed as ng m-3) in air particulate. Concentrations of lead in the TSP samples were higher than in the inhalable fraction (PM10). The maximum mean concentration of lead was found in TSP samples collected during June 1991, which gradually decreased through December 1991, and spiked again during June 1992. The distributions in zinc and titanium in the air particulate samples were similar to that of lead. Lack of statistically significant differences in lead, titanium and zinc concentrations between 1991 and 1992 suggest limited inputs of these metals from the Kuwait oil fires, to the air particulate in Dhahran. A yearly mean of 282 ± 144 ng of lead m-3air was calculated from the data for inhalable particulate collected in Dhahran. Lead poisoning is a chronic problem and automobile emissions may constitute a significant source of lead in air particulate in the Gulf region. Further monitoring of children, especially in the cities, for lead contamination is recommended. © 1994.
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