Identification of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Trans-Pacific Atmospheric Events and Their Use as Molecular Markers for Asian Air Emissions

EPA Grant Number: FP916392
Title: Identification of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Trans-Pacific Atmospheric Events and Their Use as Molecular Markers for Asian Air Emissions
Investigators: Primbs, Toby
Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2007
Project Amount: $107,218
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry , Fellowship - Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Material Science


The primary objectives of this research are to identify persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other anthropogenic semivolatile organic compounds SOCs in Eurasian air masses and to use these compounds as molecular markers for Eurasian air emissions.


POPs and other SOCs may undergo long-range atmospheric transport, from Eurasian sources, and deposition to high elevation ecosystems in North America, with the potential of impacting these sensitive ecosystems. Characterization of POPs and SOCs in Eurasian air masses will take place close to the emission sources in Asia and at high elevation sites on the West Coast of the United States. The 84 selected POPs and SOCs for this research project includes 32 organochlorines, 18 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 12 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 11 carbamates, 5 organophosphates, and 6 s-triazines. They represent emissions from combustion (PAHs), agricultural (pesticides), and industrial (PCBs) sources.

Air masses will be sampled using high volume air sampling (~1 m3/minute for 24-hour periods) and analyzed for POPs and other anthropogenic SOCs. The gas phase is collected using a combination of polyurethane foam and XAD-2 resin, and the particle phase is collected using glass fiber filters. The samples are extracted using accelerated solvent extraction and the extracts analyzed by GC/MS (EI and ECNI). Isotopically labeled compounds are used as surrogates and internal standards to quantify the concentration of the SOCs in extracts. Air trajectories are calculated using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s HYSPLIT model and imported into the ARC/GIS program for spatial representation.

This research will increase our understanding of which POPs are transported across the Pacific and from which regions in Asia. This information ultimately may be used to support a hemispheric treaty on intercontinental transport of air pollutants.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, semivolatile organic compounds, SOCs, PCBs, pesticides, PAHs, POPs, organochlorines, carbamates, Asia, Eurasian air masses, HYSPLIT model, atmospheric transport, persistent organic pollutants, air quality, air sampling, air pollution, pollutant transport and deposition, sensitive ecosystems,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, marine food web, trophic levels, seabirds, migratory patterns, aquatic toxins, DDT residues

Relevant Websites:

2004 STAR Graduate Fellowship Conference Poster (PDF, 1p., 178KB, about PDF)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • Final