The Open Environmental Research Journal

Formerly: The Open Ecology Journal

ISSN: 2590-2776 ― Volume 15, 2022

Airborne Carcinogenic Trace Elements Distribution Associated with Long Term Exposure in Makkah Population

Heba M. Adly1, Saleh A. K. Saleh2, 3, *, Abdulla A. Saati1, Samir H. Fatani2
1 Community Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, KSA
2 Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Medicine, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, KSA
3 Oncology Diagnostic Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt



More than 4 million international pilgrims visit Makkah each year during the Hajj and Umrah seasons. Since trace elements are natural ingredients that endure general biogeochemical cycling, conversion functions between environmental loadings, mass levels, and exposed receptors.


This study aimed to evaluate the distribution of carcinogenic trace element levels related to long term exposure.


Particulate Matter (PM10) sampling was conducted at six locations (Al-Haram, Arafat, Muzdalifah, Aziziyah, Al Nuzhah, and Al Awali). On-site measurement parameters included ambient temperature, wind speed, and direction over 37 weeks. Samples were investigated for Cd, Cr, As, Be, and Ni levels with inductive coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Quality assurance measures were achieved separately by analyzing a control sample to certify reliability, reproducibility, and linearity for each analysis.


Average particulate matter concentration for a one-year period presented significant variability, which exceeded the WHO guidelines for average exposure (25.0 µgm-3). PM10 average concentrations during round-1 (Spring), round-2 (Summer), round-3 (Autumn) and round-4 (Winter) were 120.1 ± 52.2 µgm-3, 223.4 ± 30.4 µgm-3, 77.6 ± 36.72, and 89 ± 62.7 µgm-3, respectively. The concentrations of Cd, Cr, As, Be, and Ni were found to be 0.098, 0.008, 0.26, 0.03, and 0.012 µgm-3, respectively.


PM10 concentration was highly correlated (p-value <0.005) with Cd, Cr, As, Be, and Ni; thereby indicating the influence of manufacturing discharges and pollutants transported over long-distances. Higher ambient air temperatures may cause atmospheric instability in low air dispersion around Makkah. This highlights the importance of continuous air monitoring and calculation of dose exposure levels of both PM10 and trace elements.

Keywords: Trace elements, Carcinogenic metals, Air pollution, Air quality, Particulate matter, Makkah.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 12
First Page: 7
Last Page: 14
Publisher Id: TOECOLJ-12-7
DOI: 10.2174/1874213001912010007

Article History:

Received Date: 03/07/2019
Revision Received Date: 22/08/2019
Acceptance Date: 29/08/2019
Electronic publication date: 30/09/2019
Collection year: 2019

© 2019 Adly et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Clinical Biochemistry & Tumor Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Umm Al-Qura University, P.O. Box: 715 Makkah 21955, Saudi Arabia; Tel: +966 555569260; E-mail:

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