This study identified the levels and sources of heavy metal contamination in road dust from busy traffic areas in a typical industrial city in Korea. This study compared the total concentrations, as determined by aqua regia digestions and atomic absorption spectroscopy, of cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn) and nickel (Ni) in the road dust from areas with different characteristics such as traffic rotaries, downtown areas, circulation roads, and asphalt and concrete highways. The contamination levels of the heavy metals in the road dust were evaluated using the contamination factor and the degree of contamination. The contamination levels of the heavy metals in the road dust were highly dependent on traffic volume and atmospheric dispersion from traffic rotaries. Industrial emissions and the frequency of brake use and vehicles coming to a complete stop were additional factors that affected the contamination levels in downtown areas. The concrete highway had higher contamination levels of the heavy metals than the asphalt highway. Vehicle speed was also a strong contributing factor to the degree of contamination of heavy metals in the road dust from the circulation roads and highways. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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