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Twenty years of measurement of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in UK ambient air by nationwide air quality networks

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Andrew S. Brown
  • Richard J. C. Brown
  • Peter J. Coleman
  • Christopher Conolly
  • Andrew J. Sweetman
  • Kevin C. Jones
  • David M. Butterfield
  • Dimitris Sarantaridis
  • Brian J. Donovan
  • Ian Roberts
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts
Issue number6
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)1199-1215
Early online date2/05/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The impact of human activities on the health of the population and of the wider environment has prompted action to monitor the presence of toxic compounds in the atmosphere. Toxic organic micropollutants (TOMPs) are some of the most insidious and persistent of these pollutants. Since 1991 the United Kingdom has operated nationwide air quality networks to assess the presence of TOMPs, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), in ambient air. The data produced in 2010 marked 20 years of nationwide PAH monitoring. This paper marks this milestone by providing a novel and critical review of the data produced since nationwide monitoring began up to the end of 2011 (the latest year for which published data is available), discussing how the networks performing this monitoring has evolved, and elucidating trends in the concentrations of the PAHs measured. The current challenges in the area and a forward look to the future of air quality monitoring for PAHs are also discussed briefly.