Intra-community spatial variation of size-fractionated PM mass, OC, EC, and trace elements in the Long Beach, CA area

Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of California, Los Angeles, 650 Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Box 951772, 56-195 CHS, 650 Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, 3620 South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
Atmospheric Environment (Impact Factor: 3.11). 01/2008; DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.02.060

ABSTRACT Local traffic patterns and proximity to pollution sources are important in assessing particulate matter (PM) exposure in urban communities. This study investigated the intra-community spatial variation of PM in an urban area impacted by numerous local and regional sources. Weekly size-segregated (<0.25, 0.25–2.5, and >2.5 μm) PM samples were collected in the winter of 2005. During each 1-week sampling cycle, data were collected concurrently at four sites within four miles of one another in the Long Beach, CA area. Coefficients of divergence analyses for size-fractionated PM mass, organic and elemental carbon, sulfur, and 18 other metals and trace elements suggest a wide range of spatial divergence. High spatial variability was observed in the <0.25 μm and 0.25–2.5 μm PM fractions for many elements associated with motor vehicle emissions. Relatively lower spatial divergence was observed in the coarse fraction, although road dust components were spatially diverse but highly correlated with each other. Mass and OC concentrations were homogeneously distributed over the sampling sites. Possible oil combustion sources were identified using previously documented markers such as vanadium and nickel and by distinguishing between primary sulfur and secondary sulfate contributions. This study shows that, although PM mass in different size fractions is spatially homogeneous within a community, the spatial distribution of some elemental components can be heterogeneous. This is evidence for the argument that epidemiological studies using only PM mass concentrations from central sites may not accurately assess exposure to toxicologically relevant PM components.

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