Seasonal variation and deposition of atmospheric organophosphate esters in the coastal region of Shanghai, China


The coastal megacity Shanghai is located in the center of the Yangtze River Delta, a dominant flame retardants (FRs) production region in China, especially for organophosphate esters (OPEs). This prompted us to investigate occurrence and seasonal changes of atmospheric OPEs in Shanghai, as well as to evaluate their sources, environmental behavior and fate as a case study for global coastal regions. Atmospheric gas and particle phase OPEs were weekly collected at two coastal sites - the emerging town Lingang New Area (LGNA), and the chemical-industry zone Jinshan Area (JSA) from July 2016–June 2017. Total atmospheric concentrations of the observed OPEs were significantly higher in JSA (median of 1800 pg m−3) than LGNA (median of 580 pg m−3). Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP) was the most abundant compound, and the proportion of three chlorinated OPEs were higher in the particle phase (55%) than in the gas phase (39%). The year-round median contribution of particle phase OPEs was 33%, which changed strongly with seasons, accounting for 10% in summer in contrast to 62% in winter. Gas and particle phase OPEs in JSA exhibited significant correlations with inverse of temperature, respectively, indicating the importance of local/secondary volatilization sources. The estimated fluxes of gaseous absorption were almost 2 orders of magnitude higher than those of particle phase deposition, which could act as sources of organic phosphorus to coastal and open ocean waters.
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