• Roadside dusts;
  • Platinum group elements;
  • Grain-size partitioning;
  • Beijing;
  • Traffic


The concentrations, distribution, and accumulation of platinum group elements (PGEs) were investigated in roadside dusts collected in four different foundational areas in Beijing during February to May 2010. The results showed that PGE levels in all samples were above the average upper crust values, with mean concentrations of 57.5 ng · g−1 Pd, 28.2 ng · g−1 Pt, and 9.8 ng · g−1 Rh, respectively. Palladium concentration has increased rapidly in recent years. The rank of PGE levels in four different functional regions for roadside dusts was: heavy density traffic area > residential area > educational area > tourism area. Palladium, Pt, and Rh concentrations in dusts showed strong positive correlations, indicating a common traffic-related source of these metals. Meanwhile, PGEs in these samples were not correlated with other traffic-related metals except for Cr. The average PGE ratios of road dusts from Beijing were consistent with those in Gemany and Western Australia, but lower than those in the United States and Mexico, indicating that various catalyst productions were used in different countries. In addition, grain-size partitioning of PGEs in dusts indicated that concentrations of PGEs differed from one particle size to another. The coarse fraction had higher PGE concentrations than the fine fraction in roadside dusts. These results showed that autocatalyst PGE contamination estimates in the environment would be significantly underestimated if only a fine-grain size fraction (<0.063 mm) is analyzed. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:1231–1238. © 2012 SETAC