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Associated topic: Heavy metals

Emissions monitoring period: since 1990

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017


Source of the pollutant

Copper (Cu) is mainly released by wear and tear on overhead rail cables and vehicle brake pads.

Pesticide spraying can also release Cu. Emissions from this pollutant source are not currently estimated by CITEPA as the necessary knowledge is lacking.


Effect of the pollutant

Copper and its by-products cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract and gastro-intestinal disorders when inhaled, and kidney failure when ingested.

Heavy metals can be toxic for the biosphere. Most being under particulate shape, they accumulate in the water, the grounds, the food and the air.


Classification of sub-sectors* with the highest emission levels in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Diesel-fuelled passenger cars 30%
2 Railways 23%
3 Diesel-fuelled heavy-duty vehicles (buses and coaches included) 15%
4 Diesel-fuelled light-duty vehicles 11%
5 Gasoline-fuelled passenger cars 9.5%

*: one sector out of six (energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.


Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 207 t in 2012
Maximum observed: 228 t in 1992
Emissions in 2015: 212 t
Trends 2015/1990: -4.4%
Trends 2015/maximum: -7.2%
Trends 2015/minimum: +2.7%

Measurement unit: t (tonne)

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Graph Cu 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

 Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab Cu 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate



Copper (Cu) emissions in mainland France were relatively stable throughout the... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017