Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UI researchers find potentially toxic substance present in Chicago air

30.09.2008
Although the industrial compounds known as polychlorinated biphenols or PCBs have been found in previous air samples collected in the city of Chicago, a University of Iowa researcher says that a new study of Chicago air sampled between November 2006 and November 2007 found PCB11, a byproduct of the manufacture of paint pigments and a potentially toxic substance, present throughout the city.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first published report of PCB11 in ambient air," said Keri Hornbuckle, UI professor of civil and environmental engineering, in the Sept. 24 online issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The journal can be found at http://pubs.acs.org/journals/esthag/.

"This compound is ubiquitous in air throughout the city of Chicago," said Hornbuckle, who is also a researcher at the renowned Iowa research institute IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering.

"We do not know if there are any health concerns associated with this compound but there are very few published studies of its toxic properties," she said.

To conduct the test, UI researchers mounted air sample collection devices on platforms attached to the rear of two medical clinic vans provided by the Mobile C.A.R.E. Foundation of Chicago (Comprehensive Care for Chicagoland's Children with Asthma). The samples were collected during the six to eight hours each day that the vans visited sites, primarily elementary schools, where the mobile clinics provide service to students and their families.

In all, researchers found PCB11 in 91 percent of the 184 samples collected.

Regarding the possible source of the substance, Hornbuckle and her UI colleagues Dingfei Hu and Andres Martinez reported, "The wide distribution of PCB11 in Chicago air is consistent with volatilization of this compound from painted surfaces although the actual source of PCB11 is unknown."

Historically, PCB11 is one of 209 compounds manufactured between the late 1920s and the 1970s. The report noted that they were primarily marketed as mixtures called Aroclors by chemical companies until U.S. production ceased in the late 1970s. The distribution of PCB11 throughout residential areas of Chicago suggests that the compound is a past or current component of consumer paint products.

The report also said that the historical trend for PCB11 is unknown and probably different from that for Aroclors -- particularly if PCB11 is produced as a by-product of current paint manufacturing -- and that Aroclor-PCBs in the environment are decreasing worldwide, but this may not be the case for PCB11.

The prevalence of PCB11 in Chicago air suggests that there are either multiple current sources in the city or that this compound is ubiquitous in background air. This has important implications for human exposure to this potentially toxic compound, according to the study.

"While inhalation is not widely considered to be a major exposure route for higher molecular weight PCBs, it may be an important route for PCB11," Hornbuckle said. "Not only is PCB11 one of the most volatile PCBs, if it is present in interior paints, then indoor concentrations may be much higher than reported here."

Concluding that further study is needed, Hornbuckle and her colleagues said "Consumption of paint chips could be also a direct exposure route for children. It is also possible that PCB11 is present not only in Chicago, but in air elsewhere and also in fish, soil, water, food and humans."

Funding for the research project was provided by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS/NIH) Superfund Basic Research Program.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Keri Hornbuckle, UI College of Engineering, 319-384-0789 (office), 319-331-3053 (cell), keri-hornbuckle@uiowa.edu; Gary Galluzzo, University News Services, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu

Gary Galluzzo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://pubs.acs.org/journals/esthag/
http://www.uiowa.edu

Further reports about: Environmental PCB11 polychlorinated biphenols toxic substance

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Loss of habitat causes double damage to species richness
02.04.2019 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Deep decarbonization of industry is possible with innovations
25.03.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>