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Estimation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon variability in air using high volume, film, and vegetation as samplers

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Elisa Terzaghi
  • Marco Scacchi
  • Bruno Cerabolini
  • Kevin C. Jones
  • Antonio Di Guardo
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>5/05/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number9
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)5520-5528
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date6/04/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Organic films and leaves provide a medium into which organic contaminants, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), can accumulate, resulting in a useful passive air sampler. In the present work, the temporal variability (weekly) in PAH concentrations and the fingerprint of films developed on window surfaces were investigated. Moreover, films and leaves of two tree species (Acer pseudoplatanus and Cornus mas) collected at the same time were used to derive PAH air concentrations and investigate their short-term variability. In general, the most abundant chemicals found in films were phenanthrene and pyrene (22%), followed by perylene (21%) and fluoranthene (16%), but the fingerprint (in contrast to leaves and air) changed over time. Leaf derived air concentrations were within a factor of 2 to 9 from measured values, while air concentrations back-calculated from films were within a factor of 2 to 53. This happened because predicted air concentrations using films and vegetation samplers (especially for low KOA chemicals) generally reflect only the last few hours (due to the fast equilibrium) of the weekly integrated samples obtained employing the high-volume sampler. This means that films and leaves can be usefully employed for predicting the short-term variability of low KOA organic contaminant air concentrations.