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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Mar 15;42(6):1904-9.

Occurrence and profiles of chlorinated and brominated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in waste incinerators.

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  • 1Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, and Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, Empire State Plaza, P.O. Box 509, Albany, New York 12201-0509, USA.


Chlorinated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (CIPAHs) have been reported to occur in urban air. Nevertheless, sources of CIPAHs in urban air have not been studied, due to the lack of appropriate analytical methods and standards. In this study, we measured concentrations of 20 CIPAHs and 11 brominated PAHs (BrPAHs) in fly ash and bottom ash from 11 municipal/hazardous/industrial waste incinerators, using analytical standards synthesized in our laboratory. Concentrations of total CIPAHs and BrPAHs in ash samples ranged from <0.06 to 6990 ng/g and from <0.14 to 1235 ng/g, respectively. The concentrations of CIPAHs were approximately 100-fold higher than the concentrations of BrPAHs. 6-CIBaP and 1-CIPyr were the dominant compounds in fly ash samples. The profiles of halogenated PAHs were similar to the profiles reported previously for urban air. 1-BrPyr was the predominant BrPAH in fly ash. Concentrations of 6-CIBaP, 9,10-Cl2Phe, 9-CIAnt, and 6-BrBaP in fly ash were significantly correlated with the corresponding parent PAH concentrations. Significant correlation between sigmaCIPAH and sigmaPAH concentrations suggests that direct chlorination of parent PAHs is the mechanism of formation of CIPAHs during incineration of wastes; nevertheless, a comparable correlation was not found for BrPAHs. There was no significant correlation between the capacity and temperature of an incinerator and the concentrations of sigmaCl-/BrPAHs in ash samples, although lower concentrations of all halogenated PAHs were found in stoker-type incinerators than in fixed grate-type incinerators. Toxicity equivalency quotients (TEQs) for CIPAHs in ash samples were calculated with CIPAH potencies. Average TEQ concentrations of CIPAHs in fly ash and bottom ash were15800 pg-TEQ/g and 67 pg-TEQ/g, respectively. Our results suggest that the extent of dioxin-like toxicity contributed by CIPAHs in ash generated during waste incineration is similar to that reported previously for dioxins. Waste incineration is an important source of Cl-/BrPAHs in the urban atmosphere.

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