China is now the world's largest emitter of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition, PAHs, and their reactive intermediates, undergo trans-Pacific atmospheric transport to the Western U.S. The objectives of our research are to predict, identify and quantify novel PAH intermediates in the atmosphere and biological systems, using computational methods, as well as laboratory and field experiments. Gaussian is used to predict the thermodynamic properties of parent structure PAHs, as well as the associated nitro-, oxy-, and hydroxy-PAH intermediates. Based on these predictions, state-of-the-art analytical chemistry techniques are used to identify and quantify these potential intermediates on Asian particulate matter before and after reaction in a continuous flow photochemical reactor. These same techniques are used to identify the relative proportion of PAH intermediates in PAH source regions (such as Beijing, China) and during long-range atmospheric transport to the Western U.S. PAH personal exposure studies in China and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon will be used to assess the similarities and differences in the PAH intermediates in biological systems relative to the atmosphere.
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