Atmospheric deposition, seasonal variation, and long-range transport of organophosphate esters on Yongxing Island, South China Sea


The South China Sea (SCS), surrounded by developing countries/regions with a huge consumption of flame retardants, is generally contaminated by organophosphate esters (OPEs). However, studies on the occurrence, deposition and long-range atmospheric transport (LRAT) process over the SCS of OPEs compounds are still limited. In this work, 10 OPEs were measured in 100 atmospheric samples collected from Yongxing Island (YXI) in the SCS. The total OPEs concentrations ranged from 1508 to 1968 pg/m3 with 28.6–1416.9 pg/m3 in gas and 95.2–1066.2 pg/m3 in particle partition. The three chlorinated OPEs are present at higher concentrations than the other seven non-chlorinated OPEs. Most OPEs had clear seasonal variations that followed the order: spring>summer≈winter>autumn except for tri-isobutyl phosphate (TIBP) and tris-(2-ethylhexyl) phosphate (TEHP). The particle-bound fraction of the total OPEs had little seasonal variations with a mean value of 0.35. Comparing J-P model and Koa model, it was found that the gas/particle partition in the study area was in non-equilibrium condition. LRAT, controlled by seasonal wind direction, was the predominated factor that led to the seasonal variations of OPEs on YXI. The average daily deposition flux of total OPEs was 13.0 ng/m2 with an annual total deposition of 15.06 g.
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