Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the atmosphere of Shanghai, China

Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, Shandong Province, 264003, China.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (Impact Factor: 1.68). 01/2011; 172(1-4):235-47. DOI: 10.1007/s10661-010-1330-x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Shanghai is the largest industrial and commercial city in China, and its air quality has been concerned for several years. However, scarce study had been made on the seasonal levels of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), together with their gas-particle partitioning and potential emission sources. Based on an intensive sampling campaign at urban and suburban areas in Shanghai during four seasons of 2005-2006, this study presented the measurement of PAH concentrations in both particulate and gaseous phases, as well as seasonal and spatial variability. The results showed that the annual PAH levels (gas + particle) were 167 ± 109 ng m⁻³ at the urban site and 216 ± 86.5 ng m⁻³ at the suburban site. Gaseous PAHs (>70%) dominated the total PAH mass at both sites, while particulate PAHs contributed more than 90% of the toxic power according to benzo(a)pyrene-equivalent carcinogenic parameter. Different seasonal trend of PAH concentrations was observed between the two sites, and it may be explained by complicated factors such as sampling heights, local/regional emission sources, and climatic conditions. The gas-particle partitioning of PAHs in all samples was calculated, and strong linear correlations between log K (p) and log P(L)° were observed, with shallower slopes (m(r)) at the suburban site than the urban one and in warm season than the cold months, indicating the different equilibrium conditions of PAHs in spatial and seasonal scales in Shanghai. The slope (m(r) = - 0.96) and correlation coefficient (R² = 0.81) for four-ring PAHs were closest to theoretical equilibrium conditions among compounds with various aromatic rings. Finally, the potential PAH sources were estimated based on principal factor analysis with multiple linear regressions. Ground volatilization dominated the PAH pollutions at both sites, while vehicles and coal consumption were the other main emission sources, which totally contributed 32.0% (suburban) to 49.2% (urban) of PAH mass in Shanghai atmosphere. The effects of wood and biomass burning were also detected, but their contributions to PAHs were negligible.

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    • "PAHs are semivolatile organic compounds and present in both gaseous and particulate phases. The partitioning of PAH compounds between the particulate and gaseous phases depends on the atmospheric conditions, the nature of aerosol, the interactions between the compound and the aerosol, and the overall behavior of the compound in the atmosphere [3]. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as 7,12-dimethyl- benz[a]anthracene (DMBA), are environmental pollutants that exert multiple toxic and carcinogenic effects [4]. "
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