Atmospheric PCB congeners across Chicago

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Peer Reviewed


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Journal/Book/Conference Title

Atmospheric Environment

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We have measured PCBs in 184 air samples collected at 37 sites in the city of Chicago using an innovative system of high-volume air samplers mounted on two health clinic vans. Here we describe results of sampling conducted from November 2006 to November 2007. The samples were analyzed for all 209 PCB congeners using a gas chromatograph with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS). The PCBs (sum of 169 peaks) inChicago ranged from 75pgm-3 to 5500pgm-3 and primarily varied as a function of temperature. The congener patterns are surprisingly similar throughout the city even though the temperature-corrected concentrations vary by more than an order of magnitude. The average profile resembles a mixture of Aroclor 1242 and Aroclor 1254, and includes many congeners that have been identified as being aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonists (dioxin-like) and/or neurotoxins. The toxic equivalence (TEQ) and neurotoxic equivalence (NEQ) in air were calculated and investigated for their spatial distribution throughout the urban-industrial complex of Chicago. The NEQ concentrations are linearly correlated with PCBs while the TEQconcentrations are not predictable. The findings of this study suggest that airborne PCBs in Chicago are widely present and elevated in residential communities; there are multiple sources rather than one or a few locations of very high emissions; the emission includes congeners associated with dioxin-like or neurotoxic effects and congeners associated with unidentified sources. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Published Article/Book Citation

Atmospheric Environment, 44:12 (2010) pp.1550-1557.

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