PAHs and Phthalate Air Sampling

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Project Overview

Particulate and gas-phase air samples were collected at the Center for Urban Waters (CUW) on the EPA’s 1-in-6 day schedule. These air samples were extracted and analyzed by CUW staff to measure the ambient concentrations of two important classes of chemical species: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and phthalate esters.

In addition, portions of these samples were archived for future analysis, which will be focused on tracers of specific processes, i.e., levoglucosan (a pyrolysis product of cellulose and tracer of woodsmoke) and nitrated PAHs (one of which, 1-nitropyrene, is a specific tracer of diesel exhaust). At the conclusion of the study, nominally after one full year of sampling, the project should yield the temporal variation of these chemical species as well as the influence of various sources of air pollution, such as biomass combustion (woodsmoke), diesel emissions, and industrial processes on air quality in Tacoma.