Development of quality assurance methods of heavy metal measurements in the atmospheric air and precipitations in the integrated background monitoring system of roshydromet

L.V. Burtseva1, N.I. Golubeva2, E.S. Konkova1

1 Yu.A. Israel Institute of Global Climate and Ecology, RF, Moscow, Glebovskaya St., 20B


2 Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, RF, Moscow, Bryusov per., 21


DOI: 10.33075/2220-5861-2019-4-20-26

UDK 504.064.36


     The article shows stages of improvement of methods for measuring the concentrations of lead, cadmium, copper and mercury in the atmospheric air and precipitations and methods for assessing the quality of the results. The methods are designed for the national system of integrated background monitoring (IBMoN) of environmental pollution. Measurement techniques were improved in accordance with the objectives of the IBMoN system and the development of the analytical base for measuring heavy metals. The IBMoN system (five observation stations) provides information on the state of environmental pollution in specially protected natural areas, where the content of heavy metals in the atmospheric air and precipitation is very low. IBMoN system has been operating in Russia since the 1980s to the present. Measurements are carried out systematically. The data compiles long-term series of concentrations of trace elements and is used to assess the actual state of environmental pollution and identify the dynamics of its change in time and space on a global scale. Therefore, the reliability and quality of data during the entire period of the system operating plays an important role.

     Atomic absorption spectrometry was used for lead, cadmium, and copper measuring. Flame AAS was used at the initial stage of the IBMoN system operation. Later – Graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy with electrothermal atomization. Increasing the sensitivity of AAS method allowed reducing the volume of samples; excluding the preparatory concentrating of precipitation samples and using direct measurement. The technique of mercury measurements in the air and precipitation by atomic absorption of “cold vapor” was changed with using a new generation of AAS with Mercury Hydride System and mercury gas analyzers. The article presents the indicators of precision, repeatability and accuracy of the results for methods used in the IBMoN system.

     The quality of measurements is evaluated according to the results of internal laboratory control (ILC) and external quality control. The rules of the ILC are presented in the regulative documents for each monitoring object and mandatory for use. External control consists in annual measurements of trace element concentrations in samples provided by the IBMoN analytical laboratory as part of the international program for the intercalibration of methods for measuring pollutants in natural objects. The article provides examples of measurement results.

Keywords: Integrated background monitoring, atmospheric air, precipitation, heavy metals, measurement methods, measurement quality.

To quote, follow the DOI link and use the Actions-Cite option or copy:

Full text in PDF(RUS)


  1. Gerasimov I.P., Israel U.A., Sokolov V.E. About the organization of biosphere reserves (stations) in the USSR // Comprehensive analysis of the natural environment. Proceedings of the second Soviet-American Symposium. L.: Hydrometeoizdat, 1976. p. 29–34.
  2. Israel U.A. Concept of monitoring the state of the biosphere // Monitoring the state of the natural environment. Proceedings of the first Soviet-English Symposium. L.: Hydrometeoizdat, 1977. p. 10–25.
  3. Israel U.A., Gasilina N.K., Rovinsky F. et al. Implementation of the environmental pollution monitoring system in the USSR. L.: Hydrometeoizdat, 1978. 115 p.
  4. Israel U.A. Ecology and control of the natural environment. L.: Hydrometeoizdat, 1979. 559 p.
  5. Gromov S.A., Paramonov S.G. Current state and prospects of development of integrated background monitoring of environmental pollution // Problems of ecological monitoring and ecosystem modeling. 2016. Т. XXVI, № 1. p. 205–221.
  6. Rovinsky F., Cherhanov U. Recommendations on the organization of observations at the stations of complex background monitoring // Problems of background monitoring of the state of the natural environment. L.: Hydrometeoizdat, 1982. Vol. 1. p. 19–26.
  7. Sisigina T.I., Frygin V.F. Contamination of the surface layer of air with metal aerosols in the vicinity of non-ferrous metallurgy enterprises // Proceedings of the Order of the red banner of labor of the Institute of applied Geophysics named after E. K. Fedorov. M.: Hydrometeoizdat, 1988. Vol. 72. p. 53–65.
  8. Rovinsky F., Burtseva L., Afanasiev M. et al. Development and improvement of methods for determining DDT, 3,4-benzapyrene, lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic in environmental objects at background stations // Problems of background monitoring of the state of the natural environment. L.: Hydrometeoizdat, 1982. Vol.1. p. 53–68.
  9. Afanasiev M., Burtseva L. Assessment of comparability of data on environmental pollution obtained at background stations in the region of Eastern European COMECON member States // Problems of background monitoring of the state of the natural environment. L.: Hydrometeoizdat, 1976. Vol. 5. p. 58–73.
  10. Kirichenko L.V., Kozlov V.I. Use of fine fiber filters for determining mass concentrations of dust and individual chemical elements in the air // Proceedings of the Institute of applied Geophysics. 1976. Vol. 21. p. 32–37.
  11. Standardized methods for monitoring of background pollution of the natural environment. M.: Hydrometeoizdat. 1986. 186 p.
  12. GD 52.04.186-89. Guidance document. Guidelines for monitoring air pollution. L.: Hydrometeoizdat, 1991. 693 p.
  13. Brosset C. The behavior of mercury in the physical environment // Water, air, and soil pollution. 1987. Vol. 34. P. 145–166.

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Translate »

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: