Lead isotope characterization of petroleum fuels in Taipei, Taiwan

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Apr 24;12(5):4602-16. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120504602.


Leaded gasoline in Taiwan was gradually phased out from 1983 to 2000. However, it is unclear whether unleaded gasoline still contributes to atmospheric lead (Pb) exposure in urban areas. In this study, Pb isotopic compositions of unleaded gasolines, with octane numbers of 92, 95, 98, and diesel from two local suppliers in Taipei were determined by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry with a two-sigma uncertainty of ± 0.02 %. Lead isotopic ratios of vehicle exhaust (²⁰⁸Pb/²⁰⁷Pb: 2.427, ²⁰⁶Pb/²⁰⁷Pb: 1.148, as estimated from petroleum fuels) overlap with the reported aerosol data. This agreement indicates that local unleaded petroleum fuels, containing 10-45 ng·Pb·g⁻¹, are merely one contributor among various sources to urban aerosol Pb. Additionally, the distinction between the products of the two companies is statistically significant in their individual ²⁰⁸Pb/²⁰⁶Pb ratios (p-value < 0.001, t test). Lead isotopic characterization appears to be applicable as a "fingerprinting" tool for tracing the sources of Pb pollution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollution / analysis
  • Isotopes / analysis
  • Lead / analysis*
  • Petroleum / analysis*
  • Taiwan
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis


  • Aerosols
  • Isotopes
  • Petroleum
  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Lead