SciCombinator

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Concept: Aromaticity

255

Emissions of organic substances with potential toxicity to humans and the environment are a major concern surrounding the rapid industrial development in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR). Although concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in some environmental samples have been reported, a comprehensive picture of organic contaminant sources, pathways, and sinks within the AOSR has yet to be elucidated. We sought to use a dynamic multimedia environmental fate model to reconcile the emissions and residue levels reported for three representative PAHs in the AOSR. Data describing emissions to air compiled from two official sources result in simulated concentrations in air, soil, water, and foliage that tend to fall close to or below the minimum measured concentrations of phenanthrene, pyrene, and benzo(a)pyrene in the environment. Accounting for evaporative emissions (e.g., from tailings pond disposal) provides a more realistic representation of PAH distribution in the AOSR. Such indirect emissions to air were found to be a greater contributor of PAHs to the AOSR atmosphere relative to reported direct emissions to air. The indirect pathway transporting uncontrolled releases of PAHs to aquatic systems via the atmosphere may be as significant a contributor of PAHs to aquatic systems as other supply pathways. Emission density estimates for the three PAHs that account for tailings pond disposal are much closer to estimated global averages than estimates based on the available emissions datasets, which fall close to the global minima. Our results highlight the need for improved accounting of PAH emissions from oil sands operations, especially in light of continued expansion of these operations.

Concepts: Phenanthrene, Organic chemistry, Anthracene, Aromaticity, Naphthalene, Petroleum, Hydrocarbon, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

169

BACKGROUND: Bronchial asthma is one of the most prevalent diseases in Arab children. Environmental pollution has been suggested to be considered causative of asthma, nasal symptoms and bronchitis in both children and adult. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the association between serum polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) levels, asthma and allergic outcomes among Saudi children aged up to 15 yrs. We hypothesized that increased serum PAHs are associated with allergy, asthma, or respiratory symptoms. METHODS: A total of 195 Saudi children (98 asthma pediatric patients and 97 healthy controls) were randomly selected from the Riyadh Cohort Study for inclusion. The diagnosis of Asthma was based on established pediatric diagnosis and medications taken. RESULTS: Asthma related markers showed highly significant differences between children with and without asthma. Thus IgE, resistin and IL-4 were significantly increased (p 0.004, 0.001 and 0.003, respectively) in children with asthma compared with non-asthma control subjects. GMCSF, IFN-gamma, IL-5, IL-8 and IL-10, on the other hand, were significantly decreased in children with asthma (p 0.003, 0.03, 0.001, 0.004 and 0.03, respectively). Strong associations between serum PAHs levels and biomarkers of childhood asthma were detected in Arabic children. Data confirmed the role of naphthalene, 4H-cyclobenta[def]phenanthrene, 1,2-benzanthracene, chrysene and benzo(e)acephenanthrylene in childhood asthma; levels of these PAHs were correlated with asthma related biomarkers including IgE, resistin, GMCSF and IFN-gamma as well as IL-4, IL-5, IL-8 and IL-10 cytokines. CONCLUSIONS: This data highlight the pivotal role of specific PAHs in childhood asthma.

Concepts: Chrysene, Benzene, Aromaticity, Hydrocarbon, Naphthalene, Asthma, Allergy, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

153

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were analyzed for 136 indoor dust samples collected from Guizhou province, southwest of China. The ∑18PAHs concentrations ranged from 2.18 μg•g-1 to 14.20 μg•g-1 with the mean value of 6.78 μg•g-1. The highest Σ18PAHs concentration was found in dust samples from orefields, followed by city, town and village. Moreover, the mean concentration of Σ18PAHs in indoor dust was at least 10% higher than that of outdoors. The 4-6 rings PAHs, contributing more than 70% of ∑18PAHs, were the dominant species. PAHs ratios, principal component analysis with multiple linear regression (PCA-MLR) and hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA) were applied to evaluate the possible sources. Two major origins of PAHs in indoor dust were identified as vehicle emissions and coal combustion. The mean incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) due to human exposure to indoor dust PAHs in city, town, village and orefield of Guizhou province, China was 6.14×10-6, 5.00×10-6, 3.08×10-6, 6.02×10-6 for children and 5.92×10-6, 4.83×10-6, 2.97×10-6, 5.81×10-6 for adults, respectively.

Concepts: Arithmetic mean, Regression analysis, Aromaticity, Principal component analysis, Yunnan, Naphthalene, Southwest China, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

151

The analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in ambient air requires the tedious experimental steps of both sampling and pretreatment (e.g., extraction or clean-up). To replace pre-existing conventional methods, a simple, rapid, and novel technique was developed to measure gas-particle fractionation of PAH in ambient air based on ‘sorbent tube-thermal desorption-gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (ST-TD-GC-MS)’. The separate collection and analysis of ambient PAHs were achieved independently by two serially connected STs. The basic quality assurance confirmed good linearity, precision, and high sensitivity to eliminate the need for complicated pretreatment procedures with the detection limit (16 PAHs: 13.1 ± 7.04 pg). The analysis of real ambient PAH samples showed a clear fractionation between gas (two-three ringed PAHs) and particulate phases (five-six ringed PAHs). In contrast, for intermediate (four ringed) PAHs (fluoranthene, pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, and chrysene), a highly systematic/gradual fractionation was established. It thus suggests a promising role of ST-TD-GC-MS as measurement system in acquiring a reliable database of airborne PAH.

Concepts: Benzene, Chrysene, Aromaticity, Fluoranthene, Naphthalene, Pyrene, Measurement, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

53

The absence of well-executed environmental monitoring in the Athabasca oil sands (Alberta, Canada) has necessitated the use of indirect approaches to determine background conditions of freshwater ecosystems before development of one of the Earth’s largest energy deposits. Here, we use highly resolved lake sediment records to provide ecological context to ∼50 y of oil sands development and other environmental changes affecting lake ecosystems in the region. We show that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) within lake sediments, particularly C1-C4-alkylated PAHs, increased significantly after development of the bitumen resource began, followed by significant increases in dibenzothiophenes. Total PAH fluxes in the modern sediments of our six study lakes, including one site ∼90 km northwest of the major development area, are now ∼2.5-23 times greater than ∼1960 levels. PAH ratios indicate temporal shifts from primarily wood combustion to petrogenic sources that coincide with greater oil sands development. Canadian interim sediment quality guidelines for PAHs have been exceeded since the mid-1980s at the most impacted site. A paleoecological assessment of Daphnia shows that this sentinel zooplankter has not yet been negatively impacted by decades of high atmospheric PAH deposition. Rather, coincident with increases in PAHs, climate-induced shifts in aquatic primary production related to warmer and drier conditions are the primary environmental drivers producing marked daphniid shifts after ∼1960 to 1970. Because of the striking increase in PAHs, elevated primary production, and zooplankton changes, these oil sands lake ecosystems have entered new ecological states completely distinct from those of previous centuries.

Concepts: Aromaticity, Oil sands, Lake, Canada, Alberta, Petroleum, Sediment, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

47

The Deepwater Horizon disaster drew global attention to the toxicity of crude oil and the potential for adverse health effects amongst marine life and spill responders in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The blowout released complex mixtures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into critical pelagic spawning habitats for tunas, billfishes, and other ecologically important top predators. Crude oil disrupts cardiac function and has been associated with heart malformations in developing fish. However, the precise identity of cardiotoxic PAHs, and the mechanisms underlying contractile dysfunction are not known. Here we show that phenanthrene, a PAH with a benzene 3-ring structure, is the key moiety disrupting the physiology of heart muscle cells. Phenanthrene is a ubiquitous pollutant in water and air, and the cellular targets for this compound are highly conserved across vertebrates. Our findings therefore suggest that phenanthrene may be a major worldwide cause of vertebrate cardiac dysfunction.

Concepts: Naphthalene, Aromaticity, Petroleum, Muscle, Hydrocarbon, Cardiac muscle, Heart, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

30

BACKGROUND: Sensitization to cockroach is one of the strongest identified risk factors for greater asthma morbidity in low-income urban communities; however, the timing of exposures relevant to the development of sensitization has not been elucidated fully. Furthermore, exposure to combustion byproducts, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), can augment the development of allergic sensitization. OBJECTIVE: We sought to test the hypotheses that domestic cockroach allergen measured prenatally would predict cockroach sensitization in early childhood and that this association would be greater for children exposed to higher PAH concentrations. METHODS: Dominican and African American pregnant women living in New York City were enrolled. In the third trimester expectant mothers wore personal air samplers for measurement of 8 nonvolatile PAHs and the semivolatile PAH pyrene, and dust was collected from homes for allergen measurement. Glutathione-S-transferase μ 1 (GSTM1) gene polymorphisms were measured in children. Allergen-specific IgE levels were measured from the children at ages 2, 3, 5, and 7 years. RESULTS: Bla g 2 in prenatal kitchen dust predicted cockroach sensitization at the ages of 5 to 7 years (adjusted relative risk [RR], 1.15; P = .001; n = 349). The association was observed only among children with greater than (RR, 1.22; P = .001) but not less than (RR, 1.07; P = .24) the median sum of 8 nonvolatile PAH levels. The association was most pronounced among children with higher PAH levels and null for the GSTM1 gene (RR, 1.54; P = .001). CONCLUSIONS: Prenatal exposure to cockroach allergen was associated with a greater risk of allergic sensitization. This risk was increased by exposure to nonvolatile PAHs, with children null for the GSTM1 mutation particularly vulnerable.

Concepts: Aromatic hydrocarbon, Pyrene, Aromaticity, Hydrocarbon, Naphthalene, Pregnancy, Asthma, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

30

Recent studies documented significantly higher concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in settled house dust in living spaces adjacent to parking lots sealed with coal-tar-based products, as well as in nearby soil. To date, no studies have examined the potential human health effects of PAHs from these products in dust and soil. Here we present the results of an analysis of potential cancer risk associated with incidental ingestion exposures to PAHs in settings near coal-tar-sealed pavement. Exposures to benzo[a]pyrene equivalents were characterized across five scenarios. Deterministic and probabilistic methods were used to calculate excess lifetime cancer risk arising from exposures to PAHs in house dust, soil, and both media. The central tendency estimate of excess cancer risk resulting from lifetime exposures to soil and dust via non-dietary ingestion in these settings exceeded 1 * 10-4 in both deterministic and probabilistic estimates. Soil was the primary driver of risk, but according to probabilistic calculations, reasonable maximum exposure to affected house dust in the first 6 years of life was sufficient to generate risk in excess of 1 * 10-4. Our results indicate that the presence of coal-tar-based pavement sealants is associated with significant increases in estimated excess lifetime cancer risk for nearby residents. Much of this calculated excess risk arises from exposures to PAHs in childhood (i.e., ages 0-6).

Concepts: Dust, 1990s music groups, Aromatic hydrocarbon, Naphthalene, Benzene, Aromaticity, Mathematics, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

29

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are regarded as key molecules in the astrochemical evolution of the interstellar medium, but the formation mechanism of even their simplest prototype-naphthalene (C(10)H(8))-has remained an open question. Here, we show in a combined crossed beam and theoretical study that naphthalene can be formed in the gas phase via a barrierless and exoergic reaction between the phenyl radical (C(6)H(5)) and vinylacetylene (CH(2) = CH-C ≡ CH) involving a van-der-Waals complex and submerged barrier in the entrance channel. Our finding challenges conventional wisdom that PAH-formation only occurs at high temperatures such as in combustion systems and implies that low temperature chemistry can initiate the synthesis of the very first PAH in the interstellar medium. In cold molecular clouds, barrierless phenyl-type radical reactions could propagate the vinylacetylene-mediated formation of PAHs leading to more complex structures like phenanthrene and anthracene at temperatures down to 10 K.

Concepts: Aromaticity, Hydrogen, Anthracene, Benzene, Naphthalene, Atom, Chemical reaction, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

28

Concentrations of 22 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were estimated for individual particle-size distributions at the airport apron of the Taipei International Airport, Taiwan, on 48 days in July, September, October, and December of 2011. In total, 672 integrated air samples were collected using a micro-orifice uniform deposition impactor (MOUDI) and a nano-MOUDI. Particle-bound PAHs (P-PAHs) were analyzed by gas chromatography with mass selective detector (GC/MSD). The five most abundant species of P-PAHs on all sampling days were naphthalene (NaP), phenanthrene (PA), fluoranthene (FL), acenaphthene (AcP), and pyrene (Pyr). Total P-PAHs concentrations were 152.21, 184.83, and 188.94 ng/m(3) in summer, autumn, and winter, respectively. On average, the most abundant fractions of benzo[a]pyrene equivalent concentration (BaPeq) in different molecular weights were high-weight PAHs (79.29 %), followed by medium-weight PAHs (11.57 %) and low-weight PAHs (9.14 %). The mean BaPeq concentrations were 1.25 and 0.94 (ng/m(3)) in ultrafine particles (<0.1 μm) and nano-particles (<0.032 μm), respectively. The percentages of total BaPeq in nano- and ultrafine particulate size ranges were 52.4 % and 70.15 %, respectively.

Concepts: Phenanthrene, Fluoranthene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Airport, Aromaticity, Naphthalene, Pyrene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon