L.-W. Antony Chen 1, Richard J. Tropp1, Wen-Whai Li2, Dongzi Zhu1, Judith C. Chow1,3, John G. Watson1,3, Barbara Zielinska1

  • 1 Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512, U.S.A.
  • 2 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, U.S.A.
  • 3 State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 10 Fenghui South Road, Xi’and High-Tech Zone, Xi’an 710075, China

Received: October 11, 2011
Revised: December 29, 2011
Accepted: December 29, 2011
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2011.10.0169  


Cite this article:
Chen, L.W.A., Tropp, R.J., Li, W.W., Zhu, D., Chow, J.C., Watson, J.G. and Zielinska, B. (2012). Aerosol and Air Toxics Exposure in El Paso, Texas: A Pilot Study. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 12: 169-179. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2011.10.0169


 

ABSTRACT


The Paso del Norte (PdN) region is one of the largest metropolitan areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. Different emission regulations between the two countries, particularly with respect to on-road vehicle and domestic burning, have impacted the regional concentration and human exposure of air toxics (e.g., metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs], and carbonyls). Comprehensive air quality measurements were conducted using a mobile monitoring system at two urban-scale sites within El Paso, Texas in December 2008 as a pilot study to understand aerosol and air toxics exposure and sources in the PdN region. The measurements show clear diurnal variations due to traffic emissions and a major pollution episode likely caused by both motor vehicles and domestic burning. Wind analysis further confirms the importance of cross-border transport on elevated pollutant concentrations at the monitoring sites. The traffic-dominated periods are characterized by high fractions of black carbon, particle-bound PAHs (p-PAHs), and carbonyls in comparison with dust-related periods. During the particular pollution episode, high levels of elemental chlorine and vinyl chloride were observed that might relate to unregulated domestic burning of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products. Although most pollution indicators show a substantial improvement in air quality over the last decade, short-term exposure to some p-PAHs, e.g., benzo[a]pyrene, is still close to the health effects screening level. Bi-national efforts are required to further reduce air toxics emissions.


Keywords: PAHs; PM2.5; Carbonyls; Cross-border air quality; Mobile monitoring system; Pollution wind rose


Share this article with your colleagues 

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter 

Aerosol and Air Quality Research has published over 2,000 peer-reviewed articles. Enter your email address to receive latest updates and research articles to your inbox every second week.

Latest coronavirus research from Aerosol and Air Quality Research

2020 Impact Factor: 3.063

5-Year Impact Factor: 2.857

Aerosol and Air Quality Research (AAQR) is an independently-run non-profit journal, promotes submissions of high-quality research, and strives to be one of the leading aerosol and air quality open-access journals in the world.