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Development of a simulated lung fluid leaching method to assess the release of potentially toxic elements from volcanic ash

Tomašek, Ines and Damby, David E. and Stewart, Carol and Horwell, Claire J. and Plumlee, Geoff and Ottley, Christopher J. and Delmelle, Pierre and Morman, Suzette and Yazidi, Sofian EL. and Claeys, Philippe and Kervyn, Matthieu and Elskens, Marc and Leermakers, Martine (2021) 'Development of a simulated lung fluid leaching method to assess the release of potentially toxic elements from volcanic ash.', Chemosphere., 278 . p. 130303.


Freshly erupted volcanic ash contains a range of soluble elements, some of which can generate harmful effects in living cells and are considered potentially toxic elements (PTEs). This work investigates the leaching dynamics of ash-associated PTEs in order to optimize a method for volcanic ash respiratory hazard assessment. Using three pristine (unaffected by precipitation) ash samples, we quantify the release of PTEs (Al, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, Zn) and major cations typical of ash leachates (Mg, Na, Ca, K) in multiple simulated lung fluid (SLF) preparations and under varying experimental parameters (contact time and solid to liquid ratio). Data are compared to a standard water leach (WL) to ascertain whether the WL can be used as a simple proxy for SLF leaching. The main findings are: PTE concentrations reach steady-state dissolution by 24 h, and a relatively short contact time (10 min) approximates maximum dissolution; PTE dissolution is comparatively stable at low solid to liquid ratios (1:100 to 1:1000); inclusion of commonly used macromolecules has element-specific effects, and addition of a lung surfactant has little impact on extraction efficiency. These observations indicate that a WL can be used to approximate lung bioaccessible PTEs in an eruption response situation. This is a useful step towards standardizing in vitro methods to determine the soluble-element hazard from inhaled ash.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:11 March 2021
Date deposited:19 March 2021
Date of first online publication:17 March 2021
Date first made open access:17 March 2022

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