Vietnam's rapid economic development has resulted in dramatic increases in construction and the number of transportation vehicles. There is now growing public concern regarding increasing air pollution, especially in big cities; however, little information is available on air quality, particularly regarding semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) adsorbed on atmospheric particulate matter. Here, we determined the frequency and concentrations of 970 SVOCs in 48 air particle samples collected by means of high-volume air sampling in Hanoi, Vietnam, by using a target screening method and a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry database. A total of 118 compounds (12.2% of the target compounds) were detected at least once in the samples, and the number of chemicals detected in each sample ranged from 85 to 103 (median, 92). For samples collected near a heavily trafficked road, the concentrations of target compounds in the samples were higher in samples collected during the day than in those collected at night, whereas the opposite was true for samples collected in a highly populated residential area with industrial activities related to the production of fresh noodles. Sixteen PAHs were detected at high concentrations in nearly 100% of the samples. Eighteen pesticides were detected, with permethrin being detected the most frequently (>70% samples), which can be explained by the use of permethrin-based Permecide 50 EC for dengue fever control during the sampling period. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (i.e., bisphenol A, 4-nitrophenol) and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (diethyltoluamide, caffeine) were detected in over 90% of the samples. Seven sterols, five phthalate compounds and five organophosphorus flame retardants were detected in the samples. This is the first comprehensive survey of SVOCs adsorbed on atmospheric particulate matter in Vietnam, and as such, this study provides important new information about the frequency and concentrations of atmospheric SVOC contamination. The variety of chemicals detected in this study implies an abundance of pollution sources; further investigations to determine these pollution sources and the risks posed by the detected SVOCs to human health are warranted.
Keywords: AIQS; Air particle; Comprehensive analysis; GC-MS-MS; SVOC.
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