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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2012 Jul;19(6):1896-907. doi: 10.1007/s11356-012-0942-9. Epub 2012 Jul 6.

Long-term automated sampling of PCDD/PCDF flue gas: current status and critical issues.

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Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research Italian National Research Council (CNR-IIA), Via Salaria km 29,300, 00015 Monterotondo, Rome, Italy.


After entry into force of the Stockholm Convention and Aarhus Protocol and in order to implement the upcoming European legal background, the European countries are asked to apply control measures to reduce the release of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as dioxins and furans (PCDD/PCDF) and polychlorinated biphenyls as well as to establish POPs release inventories. In this perspective, development of measuring techniques of emissions is a focal issue in acquiring useful information. In this paper, results of various measurement campaigns at different municipal waste incineration (MWI) plants using long-term automated sampling of PCDD/PCDF are presented. The samples collected from both manual and automated campaigns were analyzed following the European Standard EN-1948:2006 by high-resolution gas chromatograph/high-resolution mass spectrometer. Performances of two different commercial systems have been investigated. Anomalous values occurred during one long-term campaign (22.16 pg I-toxic equivalent (TEQ)/Nm(3)), compared to average values (4-5 pg I-TEQ/Nm(3)) of the MWI. At this maximum value, a main occurrence of abnormal and instable operating conditions has been found. Sampling based on long-term basis was found to be more reliable to monitor PCDD/PCDF emissions than occasional short-term sampling. Nevertheless, the results of long-term campaigns demonstrate that emission levels detected in 15-30 days campaigns, when unsteady operating conditions can occur, as start-up and shut down, are not immediately comparable to the typical levels in a 6-8 h, when operating conditions are generally stable. Moreover, there are often differences observed in the congener profiles between short- and long-term campaigns.

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