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


It is well known that increased incidences of lung, skin, and bladder cancers are associated with occupationalexposure to PAHs. Animal studies show that certain PAHs also can affect the hematopoietic and immune systemsand can produce reproductive, neurologic, and developmental effects. As a consequence, several studies have beenattempted to investigate the fate of PAHs in atmospheric environment during the past decades. However, thereis 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 andquantified in the PM10 and vapour range in Birmingham (27th November 2001-19th January 2004). The measuredconcentrations of total particulate and vapour (P+V) PAHs were consistently higher at the BROS in both winterand summer. Arithmetic mean total (P+V) PAH concentrations were 51.04±47.62 ng m-3 and 22.30±19.18 ngm-3 at the Bristol Road Observatory Site (BROS) and Elms Road Observatory Site (EROS) respectively. Inaddition arithmetic mean total (P+V) B[a]P concentrations at the BROS were 0.47±0.39 ng m-3 which exceededthe EPAQS air quality standard of 0.25 ng m-3. On the other hand, the arithmetic mean total (P+V) aliphaticswere 81.80±69.58 ng m-3 and 48.00±35.38 ng m-3 at the BROS and EROS in that order. The lowest average ofCPI and Cmax measured at the BROS supports the idea of traffic emissions being a principle source of SVOCsin an urban atmosphere. The annual trend of PAHs was investigated by using an independent t-test and onewayindependent ANOVA analysis. Generally, there is no evidence of a significant decline of heavier MW PAHsfrom the two data sets, with only Ac, Fl, Ph, An, 2-MePh, 1+9-MePh, Fluo and B[b+j+k]F showing a statisticallysignificant decline (p<0.05). A further attempt for statistical analysis had been conducted by dividing the dataset into three groups (i.e. 2000, 2001-2002 and 2003-2004). For lighter MW compounds a significant level ofdecline was observed by using one-way independent ANOVA analysis. Since the annual mean of O3 measuredin Birmingham City Centre from 2001 to 2004 increased significantly (p<0.05), it may be possible to attributethe annul reduction of more volatile PAHs to the enhanced level of annual average O3. By contrast, the heavierMW PAHs measured at the BROS did not show any significant annual reduction, implying the difficulties of5- and 6-ring PAHs to be subject to photochemical decomposition. The deviation of SVOCs profile measured atthe EROS was visually confirmed during the “Bonfire Night” festival closest to the 6th November 2003. In thisstudy, 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.