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Spatial and temporal variations of volatile organic compounds using passive air samplers in the multi-industrial city of Ulsan, Korea

Kim, Seong-Joon, Kwon, Hye-Ok, Lee, Myoung-In, Seo, Yongwon, Choi, Sung-Deuk
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.6 pp. 5831-5841
air, automobiles, benzene, cities, emissions, ethylbenzene, industrial sites, industry, principal component analysis, samplers, seasonal variation, styrene, toluene, volatile organic compounds, wind, xylene, South Korea
The source-receptor relationship of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is an important environmental concern, particularly in large industrial cities; however, only a few studies have identified VOC sources using high spatial resolution data. In this study, 28 VOCs were monitored in Ulsan, the biggest multi-industrial city in Korea. Passive air samplers were seasonally deployed at eight urban and six industrial sites. The target compounds were detected at all sites. No significant seasonal variations of VOCs were observed probably due to the continuous emissions from major industrial facilities. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, and styrene accounted for 66–86% of the concentration of Σ₂₈ VOCs. The spatial distribution of the individual VOCs clearly indicated that petrochemical, automobile, non-ferrous, and shipbuilding industries were major VOC sources. Seasonal wind patterns were found to play a role in the spatial distribution of VOCs. Diagnostic ratios also confirmed that the industrial complexes were the dominant VOC sources. The results of principal component analysis and correlation analyses identified the influence of specific compounds from each industrial complex on individual sites. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive report on the seasonal distribution of VOCs with high spatial resolution in a metropolitan industrial city in Korea.