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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Occurrence and Gas–Particle Partitioning of Organic UV-Filters in Urban Air

Pegoraro, César N; Harner, Tom; Su, Ky; Ahrens, Lutz


A retrospective analysis of a comprehensive series of high-volume air samples (n = 70) collected during 2010-2011 in Toronto (Canada) was performed. Seven UV compounds were analyzed by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) with sum of concentrations (gas + particle phase) ranging from 80 to 2030 pg/m(3). Homosalate (HMS) was the most prevalent organic UV-filter in air (47% of the total concentration), followed by 2-ethylhexyl salicylate (EHS, similar to 29%), E- and Z-2-ethylhexyl 4-methoxycinnamate (EHMC, similar to 17%). Ambient air (gas + particle phase) concentrations of organic UV-filters showed a strong seasonality, with peak levels during the summer. An analysis of Clausius-Clapeyron slopes indicated that much of the ambient burden of organic UV-filters are explained by volatilization from terrestrial and aquatic surfaces and supplemented with human activities and use of lotions and sunscreens, containing organic UV-filters, in addition to its use in plastics, textiles, paints, and pesticides. The results showed that organic UV-filters exist mainly in the gas phase with some exceptions, for instance, octocrylene (OCR), which was associated with both gas and particle phases, and avobenzone (AVB), which was predominantly in the particle phase. Lastly, this study revealed the need for basic physical chemical property data for organic UV-filters, including information on transformation rates and products, for better evaluating their environmental fate and effects.

Published in

Environmental Science and Technology
2020, Volume: 54, number: 20, pages: 12881-12889

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
    Climate Research

    Publication identifier


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