PCDD/Fs in ambient air in north-east Italy: The role of a MSWI inside an industrial area

Andrea Colombo, Emilio Benfenati, Giulio Mariani, Marco Lodi, Roberto Marras, Giuseppe Rotella, Vincenzo Senese, Elena Fattore, Roberto Fanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The stack gases of a municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI), and ambient air were sampled in four locations around the plant for the analysis of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDDs/Fs). The sampling area was close to an industrial area near Trieste, in north-east Italy. The purpose of the study was to estimate the impact of the MSWI emissions and to distinguish the contribution of these emissions from other potential emission sources in the industrial area. PCDD/F atmospheric concentrations were similar to those generally detected in urban-rural areas with one location about 2-3 times more contaminated than the others. Since the most contaminated location was inside the industrial area but upwind of the MSWI, principal component analysis (PCA) was used to establish whether other sources were the cause. This analysis clearly showed that a local steel plant's emission was the main source of PCDDs/Fs in ambient air. This study highlights the usefulness of multivariate data analysis such as PCA to identify, among different potential emission sources, the one really responsible for the contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1229
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • Dioxin
  • Incinerator
  • PCA
  • Steel plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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