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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Dec 15;44(24):9431-7. doi: 10.1021/es103554y. Epub 2010 Nov 12.

Aerostat sampling of PCDD/PCDF emissions from the Gulf oil spill in situ burns.

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  • 1US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711, United States.


Emissions from the in situ burning of oil in the Gulf of Mexico after the catastrophic failure of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform were sampled for polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDF). A battery-operated instrument package was lofted into the plumes of 27 surface oil fires over a period of four days via a tethered aerostat to determine and characterize emissions of PCDD/PCDF. A single composite sample resulted in an emission factor of 2.0 ng toxic equivalency (TEQ) per kg of carbon burned, or 1.7 ng TEQ per kg of oil burned, determined by a carbon balance method. Carbon was measured as CO(2) plus particulate matter, the latter of which has an emission factor of 0.088 kg/kg carbon burned. The average plume concentration approximately 200-300 m from the fire and about 75-200 m above sea level was <0.0002 ng TEQ/m(3).

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