Source identification of PCDD/Fs in agricultural soils near to a Chinese MSWI plant through isomer-specific data analysis
Isomer-specific data were investigated in order to identify the sources of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) in agricultural soils, including Fluvo-aquic and paddy soils, in the vicinity of a Chinese municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) plant. Homologue and isomer profiles of PCDD/Fs in soils were compared with those of potential sources, including combustion sources, i.e., MSWI flue gas and fly ash; and the impurities in agrochemicals, such as the pentachlorophenol (PCP), sodium pentachlorophenate (PCP-Na) and 1,3,5-trichloro-2-(4-nitrophenoxy) benzene (CNP). The results showed that the PCDD/F isomer profiles of combustion sources and agricultural soils were very similar, especially for PCDFs, although their homologue profiles varied, indicating that all the isomers within each homologue behave identically in the air and soil. Moreover, factor analysis of the isomer compositions among 33 soil samples revealed that the contamination of PCDD/Fs in agricultural soils near the MSWI plant were primarily influenced by the combustion sources, followed by the PCP/PCP-Na and CNP sources. This implication is consistent with our previous findings based on chemometric analysis of homologue profiles of soil and flue gas samples, and identifies PCP/PCP-Na as an additional important source of PCDD/Fs in the local area. This makes the similarities and differences of isomer profiles between Fluvo-aquic and paddy soils more explainable. It is, therefore, advisable to use isomer-specific data for PCDD/F source identifications where possible.
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