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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2012 Jan;62(1):44-51.

Obtaining polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentration ratios and molecular markers for residential wood combustion: Temuco, a case study.

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Environmental Chemistry Laboratory (LQA), Centre for Environmental Technologies (CETAM), Universidad Téchnica Federico Santa María, Valparaíso, Chile.


It is known that residential wood combustion (RWC) is an important source of fine particle emissions. The purpose of this work was to characterize the chemical composition of the particulate matter present in the Temuco urban atmosphere during winter, specifically the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) profile, because PAHs are considered to be among the key compounds in particulate matter toxicity. During the 2008 winter monitoring campaign, samples of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters of < or = 10 (PM10) and < or = 2.5 (PM2.5) microm were taken on days with contamination episodes. Sixteen U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) PAH compounds were extracted with toluene and determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results show that phenantrene was the predominant compound associated with particulate matter at a concentration range between 300 and 600 ng m(-3), 18 times higher than the second most abundant PAH compound. High-molecular-mass compounds such as dibenz[a,h]anthracene, benzo[g,h,i]perylene, and indeno[1,2,3,c,d]pyrene were also found, but they were minorities in the set. It was recognized from the PAH concentration ratios of the Temuco atmospheric aerosol that the main contamination source was in fact residential wood combustion; although not all the concentration ratios evaluated match the reported reference values, probably due to the kind of biomass used, the characteristics of Chilean heating appliances and climate.

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