Analysis of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the Particulate Phase of Biomass Smoke by Mass Spectrometric Methods

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Benefield, Virginia
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Middle Tennessee State University
Particulate matter (PM) from wildfire smoke is a great health concern for firefighters, who rarely wear full protective breathing equipment. Some of the most concerning particulate matter toxicants are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of compounds created by the incomplete combustion of organic materials. They are known as mutagens, carcinogens and have been known to cause heart disease. Traditionally gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) has been used to quantify the levels of PAHs, but this tends to be labor-intensive and time-consuming. This study describes a novel method for the PAH analysis by direct analysis in real-time-mass spectrometry (DART-MS). The proposed DART-MS method allows for the quantification of both polar and non-polar PAHs quickly with no labor-intensive extraction. DART-MS can potentially serve as an alternative method for the detection of PAHs in wildfire smoke, with higher throughput. The analysis of heavy metals in PM by inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) has also been implemented in this study.
Heavy metal, Inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectrometry, Direct analysis in real-time-mass spectrometry, Particulate matter, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Wildfire Smoke, Chemistry