Spatial Distribution and Seasonal Variation of Organophosphate Esters in Air above the Bohai and Yellow Seas, China


Nine organophosphate esters (OPEs) were investigated in air samples collected over the Bohai and Yellow Seas (East Asia) during a research cruise between June 28 and July 13, 2016. These same OPEs were quantified at a research site (North Huangcheng Island, NHI) in the middle of the Bohai Strait from May 16, 2015, to March 21, 2016. The median total OPE (ΣOPE) concentration over the Bohai and Yellow Seas was 280 pg/m3. Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) (TCPP) was the most abundant OPE, followed by tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), tri-iso-butyl phosphate (TiBP), and tri-n-butyl phosphate (TnBP). Particle-bound OPEs accounted for 51 ± 21% of the total OPEs. On NHI, the median ΣOPE concentration was 210 pg/m3, and the average particle-bound fraction was 82 ± 17%. For samples collected on NHI, significant negative linear correlations were found between the gaseous OPEs and 1/T (T: temperature (K)) (except TDCP, TPeP, and TCP). Among the 79 investigated samples, significant correlations between the measured OPE gas/particle partitioning coefficients (Kp,m) and subcooled liquid pressure (PL◦) (p < 0.05) were found for only 14 samples, suggesting that OPEs have low potential to achieve equilibrium or ascribe to the artificial sampling. The annual dry deposition input of OPEs into the Bohai and Yellow Seas is estimated to be 12 tons/year.
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