Emissions of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Natural Gas Extraction into Air.
ABSTRACT: Natural gas extraction, often referred to as "fracking", has increased rapidly in the United States in recent years. To address potential health impacts, passive air samplers were deployed in a rural community heavily affected by the natural gas boom. Samplers were analyzed for 62 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Results were grouped based on distance from each sampler to the nearest active well. Levels of benzo[a]pyrene, phenanthrene, and carcinogenic potency of PAH mixtures were highest when samplers were closest to active wells. PAH levels closest to natural gas activity were comparable to levels previously reported in rural areas in winter. Sourcing ratios indicated that PAHs were predominantly petrogenic, suggesting that PAH levels were influenced by direct releases from the earth. Quantitative human health risk assessment estimated the excess lifetime cancer risks associated with exposure to the measured PAHs. At sites closest to active wells, the risk estimated for maximum residential exposure was 0.04 in a million, which is below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's acceptable risk level. Overall, risk estimates decreased 30% when comparing results from samplers closest to active wells to those farthest from them. This work suggests that natural gas extraction is contributing PAHs to the air, at levels that would not be expected to increase cancer risk.
Project description:Natural gas extraction, often referred to as "fracking," has increased rapidly in the U.S. in recent years. To address potential health impacts, passive air samplers were deployed in a rural community heavily affected by the natural gas boom. Samplers were analyzed for 62 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Results were grouped based on distance from each sampler to the nearest active well. PAH levels were highest when samplers were closest to active wells. Additionally, PAH levels closest to natural gas activity were an order of magnitude higher than levels previously reported in rural areas. Sourcing ratios indicate that PAHs were predominantly petrogenic, suggesting that elevated PAH levels were influenced by direct releases from the earth. Quantitative human health risk assessment estimated the excess lifetime cancer risks associated with exposure to the measured PAHs. Closest to active wells, the risk estimated for maximum residential exposure was 2.9 in 10?000, which is above the U.S. EPA's acceptable risk level. Overall, risk estimates decreased 30% when comparing results from samplers closest to active wells to those farthest. This work suggests that natural gas extraction may be contributing significantly to PAHs in air, at levels that are relevant to human health.
Project description:Natural gas extraction (NGE) has expanded rapidly in the United States in recent years. Despite concerns, there is little information about the effects of NGE on air quality or personal exposures of people living or working nearby. Recent research suggests NGE emits polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into air. This study used low-density polyethylene passive samplers to measure concentrations of PAHs in air near active (n?=?3) and proposed (n?=?2) NGE sites. At each site, two concentric rings of air samplers were placed around the active or proposed well pad location. Silicone wristbands were used to assess personal PAH exposures of participants (n?=?19) living or working near the sampling sites. All samples were analyzed for 62 PAHs using GC-MS/MS, and point sources were estimated using the fluoranthene/pyrene isomer ratio. ?PAH was significantly higher in air at active NGE sites (Wilcoxon rank sum test, p?<?0.01). PAHs in air were also more petrogenic (petroleum-derived) at active NGE sites. This suggests that PAH mixtures at active NGE sites may have been affected by direct emissions from petroleum sources at these sites. ?PAH was also significantly higher in wristbands from participants who had active NGE wells on their properties than from participants who did not (Wilcoxon rank sum test, p?<?0.005). There was a significant positive correlation between ?PAH in participants' wristbands and ?PAH in air measured closest to participants' homes or workplaces (simple linear regression, p?<?0.0001). These findings suggest that living or working near an active NGE well may increase personal PAH exposure. This work also supports the utility of the silicone wristband to assess personal PAH exposure.
Project description:Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emissions from the combustion of household solid coal for cooking and heating cause great harm to public health in China, especially in less developed areas. Children are one of the most susceptible population groups at risk of indoor air pollutants due to their immature respiratory and immune systems. However, information on PAH exposure of children is limited due to limited monitoring data. In this study, we aimed to assess the seasonal differences of PAHs in classrooms, analyze the pollutant sources, and calculate the incremental lifetime cancer risk attributable to PAHs in Shanxi Provence. A typical school using household coal combustion in Shanxi Province was selected. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5)samples were collected by both individual samplers and fixed middle-flow samplers during the heating and non-heating seasons in December 2018 and April 2019. The PAH concentrations in PM2.5 samples were analyzed by a gas chromatograph coupled to a mass spectrometer. The results showed that PAH concentrations in PM2.5 varied between 89.1 ng/m3 in the heating season and 1.75 ng/m3 in the non-heating season. The mean concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), a carcinogenic marker of PAHs, were 10.3 and 0.05 ng/m3 in the heating and non-heating seasons, respectively. Source allocation analysis of individual portable and passive samplers revealed that the main contributors during heating and non-heating seasons were coal combustion and gasoline sources, respectively. According to the results of a Monte Carlo simulation, the incremental lifetime cancer risk values from the inhalation of PAHs in the heating and non-heating seasons were 3.1 × 10-6 and 5.7 × 10-8, respectively. The significant increase in PAHs and the incremental lifetime cancer risk in the heating season indicates that children are more exposed to health threats in winter. Further PAH exposure control strategies, including reducing coal usage and promoting clean fuel applications, need to be developed to reduce the risk of PAH-induced cancer.
Project description:This study validates the analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in microgram levels of particulate matter (PM) collected on filters by two low-flow rate, real-time monitors, microPEM™ and microAeth®. Particle-associated PAHs were analyzed by a coupling of a gas chromatograph to a sensitive, atmospheric-pressure laser ionization-mass spectrometer. Air particulate samples were collected over the course of one or two days in the living room of a fourth-floor apartment in New York City. Three types of samplers, the two aforementioned personal samplers and a high-flow rate pump (4 liters per minute), were operated side by side, and three samples of each type were collected during each sampling period. Intrasampler agreement as measured by relative standard deviation (RSD) was within 1% to 18%. After background subtraction, total PAH measured by all three sampler types had good agreement (R=0.99). This ability to accurately characterize personal PAH exposure in archived filters collected by these real-time samplers could provide additional important PAH exposure information that can benefit many environmental health studies using these monitors.
Project description:The human behavioral modification recommendations during wildfire events are based on particulate matter and may be confounded by the potential risks of gas-phase pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Moreover, the majority of adults spend over 90 percent of their time indoors where there is an increased concern of indoor air quality during wildfire events. We address these timely concerns by evaluating paired indoor and outdoor PAH concentrations in residential locations and their relationship with satellite model-based categorization of wildfire smoke intensity. Low-density polyethylene passive air samplers were deployed at six urban sites for 1 week in Eugene, Oregon with matched indoor and outdoor samples and 24 h time resolution. Samples were then quantitatively analyzed for 63 PAH concentrations using gas-chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A probabilistic principal components analysis was used to reduce all 63 PAHs into an aggregate measure. Linear regression of the first principal component against indoor versus outdoor shows that indoor gas-phase PAH concentrations are consistently equal to or greater than outdoor concentrations. Regression against a satellite-based model for wildfire smoke shows that outdoor, but not indoor gas-phase PAH concentrations are likely associated with wildfire events. These results point toward the need to include gas-phase pollutants such as PAHs in air pollution risk assessment.
Project description:Forty passive air samplers were deployed to study the occurrence of gas and particulate phase PAHs in remote, rural village and urban areas of Beijing-Tianjin region, North China for four seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter) from 2007 to 2008. The influence of emissions on the spatial distribution pattern of air PAH concentrations was addressed. In addition, the air-soil gas exchange of PAHs was studied using fugacity calculations. The median gaseous and particulate phase PAH concentrations were 222 ng/m³ and 114 ng/m³, respectively, with a median total PAH concentration of 349 ng/m³. Higher PAH concentrations were measured in winter than in other seasons. Air PAH concentrations measured at the rural villages and urban sites in the northern mountain region were significantly lower than those measured at sites in the southern plain during all seasons. However, there was no significant difference in PAH concentrations between the rural villages and urban sites in the northern and southern areas. This urban-rural PAH distribution pattern was related to the location of PAH emission sources and the population distribution. The location of PAH emission sources explained 56%-77% of the spatial variation in ambient air PAH concentrations. The annual median air-soil gas exchange flux of PAHs was 42.2 ng/m²/day from soil to air. Among the 15 PAHs measured, acenaphthylene (ACY) and acenaphthene (ACE) contributed to more than half of the total exchange flux. Furthermore, the air-soil gas exchange fluxes of PAHs at the urban sites were higher than those at the remote and rural sites. In summer, more gaseous PAHs volatilized from soil to air because of higher temperatures and increased rainfall. However, in winter, more gaseous PAHs deposited from air to soil due to higher PAH emissions and lower temperatures. The soil TOC concentration had no significant influence on the air-soil gas exchange of PAHs.
Project description:Currently there is a lack of inexpensive, easy-to-use technology to evaluate human exposure to environmental chemicals, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This is the first study in which silicone wristbands were deployed alongside two traditional personal PAH exposure assessment methods: active air monitoring with samplers (i.e., polyurethane foam (PUF) and filter) housed in backpacks, and biological sampling with urine. We demonstrate that wristbands worn for 48 h in a non-occupational setting recover semivolatile PAHs, and we compare levels of PAHs in wristbands to PAHs in PUFs-filters and to hydroxy-PAH (OH-PAH) biomarkers in urine. We deployed all samplers simultaneously for 48 h on 22 pregnant women in an established urban birth cohort. Each woman provided one spot urine sample at the end of the 48-h period. Wristbands recovered PAHs with similar detection frequencies to PUFs-filters. Of the 62 PAHs tested for in the 22 wristbands, 51 PAHs were detected in at least one wristband. In this cohort of pregnant women, we found more significant correlations between OH-PAHs and PAHs in wristbands than between OH-PAHs and PAHs in PUFs-filters. Only two comparisons between PAHs in PUFs-filters and OH-PAHs correlated significantly (rs?=?0.53 and p?=?0.01; rs?=?0.44 and p?=?0.04), whereas six comparisons between PAHs in wristbands and OH-PAHs correlated significantly (rs?=?0.44 to 0.76 and p?=?0.04 to <0.0001). These results support the utility of wristbands as a biologically relevant exposure assessment tool which can be easily integrated into environmental health studies. Graphical abstract PAHs detected in samples collected from urban pregnant women.
Project description:Contamination of resident aquatic organisms is a major concern for environmental risk assessors. However, collecting organisms to estimate risk is often prohibitively time and resource-intensive. Passive sampling accurately estimates resident organism contamination, and it saves time and resources. This study used low density polyethylene (LDPE) passive water samplers to predict polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) levels in signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus. Resident crayfish were collected at 5 sites within and outside of the Portland Harbor Superfund Megasite (PHSM) in the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. LDPE deployment was spatially and temporally paired with crayfish collection. Crayfish visceral and tail tissue, as well as water-deployed LDPE, were extracted and analyzed for 62 PAHs using GC-MS/MS. Freely-dissolved concentrations (Cfree) of PAHs in water were calculated from concentrations in LDPE. Carcinogenic risks were estimated for all crayfish tissues, using benzo[a]pyrene equivalent concentrations (BaPeq). ?PAH were 5-20 times higher in viscera than in tails, and ?BaPeq were 6-70 times higher in viscera than in tails. Eating only tail tissue of crayfish would therefore significantly reduce carcinogenic risk compared to also eating viscera. Additionally, PAH levels in crayfish were compared to levels in crayfish collected 10 years earlier. PAH levels in crayfish were higher upriver of the PHSM and unchanged within the PHSM after the 10-year period. Finally, a linear regression model predicted levels of 34 PAHs in crayfish viscera with an associated R-squared value of 0.52 (and a correlation coefficient of 0.72), using only the Cfree PAHs in water. On average, the model predicted PAH concentrations in crayfish tissue within a factor of 2.4 ± 1.8 of measured concentrations. This affirms that passive water sampling accurately estimates PAH contamination in crayfish. Furthermore, the strong predictive ability of this simple model suggests that it could be easily adapted to predict contamination in other shellfish of concern.
Project description:Estimation of carcinogenic potency based on analysis of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) ranked by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the most popular approach within scientific and environmental air quality management communities. The majority of PAH monitoring projects have been focused on particle-bound PAHs, ignoring the contribution of gas-phase PAHs to the toxicity of PAH mixtures in air samples. In this study, we analyzed the results of 13 projects in which 88 PAHs in both gas and particle phases were collected from different sources (biomass burning, mining operation, and vehicle emissions), as well as in urban air. The aim was to investigate whether 16 particle-bound U.S. EPA priority PAHs adequately represented health risks of inhalation exposure to atmospheric PAH mixtures. PAH concentrations were converted to benzo(a)pyrene-equivalent (BaPeq) toxicity using the toxic equivalency factor (TEF) approach. TEFs of PAH compounds for which such data is not available were estimated using TEFs of close isomers. Total BaPeq toxicities (?88BaPeq) of gas- and particle-phase PAHs were compared with BaPeq toxicities calculated for the 16 particle-phase EPA PAH (?16EPABaPeq). The results showed that 16 EPA particle-bound PAHs underrepresented the carcinogenic potency on average by 85.6% relative to the total (gas and particle) BaPeq toxicity of 88 PAHs. Gas-phase PAHs, like methylnaphthalenes, may contribute up to 30% of ?88BaPeq. Accounting for other individual non-EPA PAHs (i.e., benzo(e)pyrene) and gas-phase PAHs (i.e., naphthalene, 1- and 2-methylnaphthalene) will make the risk assessment of PAH-containing air samples significantly more accurate.
Project description:This work provides the first quantitative measure of in situ flux of semi-volatile contaminants on artificial turf fields. Passive samplers were used to identify gas-phase PAHs and OPAHs not previously reported associated with artificial turf. Utilizing a broad and targeted screen, we assess both artificial turf and from crumb rubber for 1,529 chemicals, including several with known health effects including benzo[c]fluorene. We also report the presence of 25 chemicals that have not yet been reported in artificial turf literature, including some with known effects on human health. This is the first report of bioavailable gas-phase PAH and OPAH concentrations on an outdoor field, to date gas-phase concentrations have only been reported from indoor facilities. Turf air and air were highly correlated at all three sites, and particularly at the recently-installed indoor site. Finally, thermal extraction and silicone passive samplers are highly suitable for larger-scale sampling campaigns that aim for less solvent and sample processing. We demonstrate for the first time that silicone passive samplers can be used to quantify volatile and semi-volatile organic chemicals from artificial turf. Co-deploying silicone passive samplers and conventional low density polyethylene, we develop partitioning coefficients that can be used for silicone passive air sampling environmental assessment.