Fingerprint of Carcinogenic Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs) during Bonfire Night

  • Pongpiachan, Siwatt (NIDA Center for Research and Development of Disaster Prevention and Management, School of Social and Environmental Development, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA))
  • Published : 2013.05.30


It is well known that increased incidences of lung, skin, and bladder cancers are associated with occupational exposure to PAHs. Animal studies show that certain PAHs also can affect the hematopoietic and immune systems and can produce reproductive, neurologic, and developmental effects. As a consequence, several studies have been attempted to investigate the fate of PAHs in atmospheric environment during the past decades. However, there is still a lack of information in regard to the atmospheric concentration of PAHs during the "Bon Fire Night". In this study, twenty-three polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and twenty-eight aliphatics were identified and quantified in the $PM_{10}$ and vapour range in Birmingham ($27^{th}$ November 2001-$19^{th}$ January 2004). The measured concentrations of total particulate and vapour (P+V) PAHs were consistently higher at the BROS in both winter and summer. Arithmetic mean total (P+V) PAH concentrations were $51.04{\pm}47.62$ ng $m^{-3}$ and $22.30{\pm}19.18$ ng $m^{-3}$ at the Bristol Road Observatory Site (BROS) and Elms Road Observatory Site (EROS) respectively. In addition arithmetic mean total (P+V) B[a]P concentrations at the BROS were $0.47{\pm}0.39$ ng $m^{-3}$ which exceeded the EPAQS air quality standard of 0.25 ng $m^{-3}$. On the other hand, the arithmetic mean total (P+V) aliphatics were $81.80{\pm}69.58$ ng $m^{-3}$ and $48.00{\pm}35.38$ ng $m^{-3}$ at the BROS and EROS in that order. The lowest average of CPI and $C_{max}$ measured at the BROS supports the idea of traffic emissions being a principle source of SVOCs in an urban atmosphere. The annual trend of PAHs was investigated by using an independent t-test and oneway independent ANOVA analysis. Generally, there is no evidence of a significant decline of heavier MW PAHs from the two data sets, with only Ac, Fl, Ph, An, 2-MePh, 1+9-MePh, Fluo and B[b+j+k]F showing a statistically significant decline (p<0.05). A further attempt for statistical analysis had been conducted by dividing the data set into three groups (i.e. 2000, 2001-2002 and 2003-2004). For lighter MW compounds a significant level of decline was observed by using one-way independent ANOVA analysis. Since the annual mean of $O_3$ measured in Birmingham City Centre from 2001 to 2004 increased significantly (p<0.05), it may be possible to attribute the annul reduction of more volatile PAHs to the enhanced level of annual average $O_3$. By contrast, the heavier MW PAHs measured at the BROS did not show any significant annual reduction, implying the difficulties of 5- and 6-ring PAHs to be subject to photochemical decomposition. The deviation of SVOCs profile measured at the EROS was visually confirmed during the "Bonfire Night" festival closest to the $6^{th}$ November 2003. In this study, the atmospheric PAH concentrations were generally elevated on this day with concentrations of Fl, Ac, B[a]A, B[b+j+k]F, Ind and B[g,h,i]P being particularly high.


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