Interconversion of chromium species during air sampling: Effects of O 3, NO2, SO2, particle matrices, temperature, and humidity

Lihui Huang, Zhihua Fan, Chang Ho Yu, Philip K. Hopke, Paul J. Lioy, Brian T. Buckley, Lin Lin, Yingjun Ma

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    14 Scopus citations


    The interconversion between Cr(VI), a pulmonary carcinogen, and Cr(III), an essential human nutrient, poses challenges to the measurement of Cr(VI) in airborne particles. Chamber and field tests were conducted to identify the factors affecting Cr(VI)-Cr(III) interconversion in the basic filter medium under typical sampling conditions. In the chamber tests, isotopically enriched 53Cr(VI) and 50Cr(III) were spiked on diesel particulate matter (DPM) and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) that were precollected on a basic MCE filter. The filter samples were then exposed to clean air or the air containing SO2 (50 and 160 ppb), 100 ppb O3, or 150 ppb NO2 for 24 h at 16.7 LPM flow rate at designated temperature (20 and 31 C) and RH (40% and 70%) conditions. Exposure to 160 ppb SO2 had the greatest effect on 53Cr(VI) reduction, with 53Cr(VI) recovery of 31.7 ± 15.8% (DPM) and 42.0 ± 7.9% (SOA). DPM and SOA matrix induced 53Cr(VI) reduction when exposed to clean air while reactive oxygen species in SOA could promote 50Cr(III) oxidation. Deliquescence when RH increased from 40% to 70% led to conversion of Cr(III) in SOA, whereas oxidized organics in DPM and SOA enhanced hygroscopicity and thus facilitated Cr(VI) reduction. Field tests showed seasonal variation of Cr(VI)-Cr(III) interconversion during sampling. Correction of the interconversion using USEPA method 6800 is recommended to improve accuracy of ambient Cr(VI) measurements.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)4408-4415
    Number of pages8
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - May 7 2013

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Chemistry(all)
    • Environmental Chemistry

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