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Successfully submitted for the award of Master of Philosophy to the Technological University Dublin in 1999.


PAH form a large class of ubiquitous pollutants mainly of anthropogenic origin. Several PAH found in air particulates have been identified as carcinogens and mutagens. Sixteen of these PAH have been listed by the USEPA as priority pollutants. This research is concerned with the development and optimisation of a method for the analysis of these sixteen PAH in air particulates. Soxhlet and ultrasonic extraction procedures were investigated to optimise the recoveries from spiked glass fibre filters with a standard 1ppm mixture of the 16PAH. Standard mixtures of the 16 PAH were analysed by HPLC with fluorescence detection with approx. linearity obtained (R2 0.9920-0.9998. For the purposes of quantitation, UV detection of 1ppm response factors were used. The ultrasonic extraction procedure (sonication for 1 hour in 3X50ml acetonitrile) yielded the best recoveries. Solid phase extraction (SPE) was used as the sample cleanup procedure. Spiked standard samples were used to optimise retention on the sorbent and identify a suitable wash solvent and elution solvent. Environmental samples were taken in indoor (public houses) and outdoor locations. Sampling focused on two particle size fractions, PM10 and PM4.5 (particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters of 10um (inhalable fraction) and 4.5um (respirable fraction). The particulate matter was trapped on glass fibre filters by use of a calibrated constant flow air meter (rate=1.9L/min) and extracted ultrasonically. The extract volume was reduced to ca. 5mls and cleaned up by the optimised SPE procedure. Separation and analysis of the PAH was achieved by HPLC with fluorescence detection. Individual PAH were identified by comparison with standard retention times and 10ppb response factors, or 100ppb response factors for dibenz(ah)anthracene and benzo(ghi)perylene as detection at the 10ppb concentration level could not be obtained for these two compounds. Indoor samples showed mainly a 4-6 ringed PAH profile, typically with higher levels of PAH concentration detected in the PM4.5 fraction than the PM10 fraction. The ambient samples showed 2-3 and 4-6 ringed PAH profiles at the congested roadway sampling location, with the higher levels being seen in the PM4.5 fraction. The other sampling locations (less dense traffic volumes ) showed a 2-3 ringed PAH profile, with higher concentration levels found in the PM10fraction. Samples were attained from the Baseline Study on PM10 carried out in Dublin City (1996) by Dublin Corporation, and analysed using this method. The same types and levels of PAH found in the Baseline Study’s analysis of the PM10 fraction for PAH were detected using the methods developed in this research.


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