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A one-year record of particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at an urban background site in Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Portugal

Cerqueira, Mário, Matos, João
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.658 pp. 34-41
adverse effects, aerosols, air quality, benzo(a)pyrene, capital, emissions, high performance liquid chromatography, laws and regulations, meteorological parameters, metropolitan areas, particulates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, principal component analysis, risk, seasonal variation, spring, summer, winter, Portugal
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of organic chemicals that are widely distributed in the atmosphere and well known for their adverse health effects. This study aims to describe, for the first time, the levels, sources and associated health risks of particulate PAHs in an urban background atmosphere of Lisbon, the capital and largest city in Portugal. PM10 aerosol samples were collected from early January to the end of December 2012 with a high-volume sampler and were later analyzed for 10 PAHs by high-performance liquid chromatography. The annual average of the sum of the concentrations of PAHs (ΣPAHs) was 1.64 ± 1.85 ng/m3. The dominant PAHs were pyrene, chrysene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, fluoranthene and benzo[g,h,i]perylene. Together these species accounted for approximately 70% of the ΣPAHs. A marked seasonal variation was observed for the investigated PAHs, with the highest values in winter and the lowest in spring and summer, reflecting the variation of emissions and meteorological conditions over time. The average concentration of benzo[a]pyrene was found to be 0.107 ± 0.152 ng/m3, not exceeding the target value of 1 ng/m3 established by European air quality legislation. Diagnostic ratios and principal component analysis were employed for the source apportionment of PAHs. Both tools indicated that vehicle exhaust was the main contributor to the atmospheric levels of PAHs in the study area.