Survey of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the atmosphere of rural, urban and industrial areas of Concepcion, Chile, using passive air samplers

Passive air samplers (PAS) consisting of polyurethane foam (PUF) disks were used to assess air concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in rural, urban, and industrial sites in Concepcion, Chile during a two-month deployment in the summer of 2007. Results for PCBs and PAHs showed a clear rural-urban-industrial gradient. PCB air concentrations (pg m(-3)) ranged from similar to 30 to similar to 350 and were similar to 2 to 5 times higher at industrial sites compared to rural sites. For PAHs, air concentrations (ng m(-3)) ranged from 26 to 230 and were 4 to 8 times higher at industrial sites. The PCB congener profile was dominated by high molecular weight PCBs at urban and industrial sites. The PAH profile was dominated by 3- and 4-ring PAHs accounting for more than 90% of the Sigma(15)PAH, and dominated by phenanthrene (similar to 40%). Of the HCH isomers, only gamma-HCH was detected with air concentrations ranging from 5 to 120 pg m(-3). While for DDT isomers, p,p'-DDE was the only compound detected, ranging from below detection limit (BDL) to 360 pg m(-3). Other OCPs (chlordanes, heptachlor and Dieldrin) showed low air concentrations (pg m(-3)) on the order of similar to 1 - 3. Endosulfan, which is a newly listed persistent organic pollutant (POP) under the Stockholm Convention (SC) on POPs, ranged from 14 to 20 pg m(-3). Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) also newly listed under the SC, were relatively uniform across the transect with air concentrations (pg m(-3)) in the range of similar to 5 to 10. This study represents one of the first efforts to characterize the POPs composition in ambient air for urban and industrial areas of Chile. (C) Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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