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Accumulation of metals, trace elements and semi-volatile organic compounds on exterior window surfaces in Baltimore.

Organic films have been found to develop on window surfaces [Diamond et al., Environmental Science and Technology 34 (2000a) 2900]. The film contains organic compounds that are in dynamic equilibrium with the gas-phase in air, and organic and inorganic compounds and elements associated with deposited air particles. In this study, the exterior surfaces of windows were sampled in downtown and suburban Baltimore, Maryland. Higher concentrations of PCBs, PAH, metals and trace elements were found at downtown than a suburban site. PCBs in the films at downtown sites were dominated by penta and hexa homologue groups and PAH signatures resembled that of vehicle emissions. Twenty-six metals and trace elements were separated into two groups according to their enrichment factors (EF). Ag, Hg, Se, Sb and Zn had EF > 100, suggesting anthropogenic sources of these metals in the films; whereas Fe, Ca, Co, Cr and others had EF <10, suggesting a crustal origin. An unusual profile dominated by deca- and nona- PCBs and relatively higher concentrations of Ag, Hg and Zn may be attributable to emissions from a medical waste incinerator. Dry deposition fluxes of selected metals on windows were 1.4-94 times higher on windows with than without films, indicating that the film increases the dry deposition of particles and their associated chemicals. This implies that film development, which is associated with elevated VOC and SOC emissions to urban air, will increase film development that will, in turn, increase the accumulation of other atmospherically deposited constituents such as metals.[1]

References

  1. Accumulation of metals, trace elements and semi-volatile organic compounds on exterior window surfaces in Baltimore. Liu, Q.T., Diamond, M.L., Gingrich, S.E., Ondov, J.M., Maciejczyk, P., Stern, G.A. Environ. Pollut. (2003) [Pubmed]
 
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