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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Sep 1;42(17):6385-91.

Influence of Asian and Western United States urban areas and fires on the atmospheric transport of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and fluorotelomer alcohols in the Western United States.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.


Atmospheric measurements of semivolatile organic compounds (SOCs) were made at Mt Bachelor Observatory (MBO), located in Oregon's Cascade Range, to understand the trans-Pacific and regional transport of SOCs from urban areas. High volume air sampling (approximately 644 m3 for 24 h periods) of both the gas and particulate phases was conducted from April 19, 2004 to May 13, 2006 (n = 69); including NASA's INTEX-B campaign in spring 2006 (n = 34 of 69). Air mass back trajectories were calculated and were used to calculate source region impact factors (SRIFs), the percentage of time the sampled air mass resided in a given source region. Particulate-phase polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations at MBO increased with the percentage of air mass time in Asia and, in conjunction with other data, provided strong evidence that particulate-phase PAHs are emitted from Asia and undergo trans-Pacific atmospheric transport to North America. Gas-phase PAH and fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH) concentrations significantly increased with the percentage of air mass time in California's urban areas, whereas retene and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations increased with the percentage of air mass time in Oregon and during regional fire events. In addition, sigma(gas-phase) PAH, retene, and levoglucosan concentrations were significantly correlated (p-value < 0.001) with sigma(PCB) concentrations, suggesting that increased atmospheric PCB concentrations were associated with fires due to the volatilization of stored PCBs from soil and vegetation.

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