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Estimation of Atmospheric Emissions of Six Semivolatile Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Southern Canada and the United States by Use of an Emissions Processing System

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journal contribution
posted on 15.06.2007, 00:00 by Elisabeth Galarneau, Paul A. Makar, Mourad Sassi, Miriam L. Diamond
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are toxic compounds that are ubiquitous in the atmospheric environ ment. The input for an emissions processing system that was originally configured for the study of criteria air pollutants was updated to calculate emissions of six semivolatile PAHs. The goal of the work was to produce emissions estimates with the spatial and temporal resolution needed to serve as input to a regional air quality model for southern Canada and the U.S. Such modeling is helpful in determining reductions in PAH emissions that may be necessary to protect human and ecosystem health. The total annual emission of the six PAHs (Σ6PAH) for both countries was estimated at 18 273 Mg/year. A total of 90% of these emissions arise from U.S. sources. The top six source types account for 73% of emissions and are related to metal production, open burning, incineration, and forest fires. The emission factors used in this study were derived from published compilations. Although this approach has the advantage of quality control during the compilation process, some compilations include factors from older studies that may overestimate emissions since they do not account for recent improvements in emission control technology. When compared to estimates published in the National Emissions Inventory (NEI) for 2002, the U.S. emissions in this study are higher by a factor of 4 (16 424 vs 4102 Mg/year). The cause of this difference has been investigated, and much of it is likely due to our use of data unavailable in the 2002 NEI but inferred here on the basis of the PAH emissions literature. Augmenting the 2002 NEI with this additional information would bring its reported annual emissions to 8213 Mg/year, which is within a factor of 2 of the estimates herein. The results presented for southern Canada are the first published values for all known PAH sources in that country.