PM2.5-bound polyhalogenated carbazoles (PHCZs) in urban Beijing, China: Occurrence and the source implication

Qinghua Zhang , Peijie Zuo , Chu Wang , Zengwei Li , Dawei Lu , Hao Xian , Huili Lu , Yin Dong , Ruiqiang Yang , Yingming Li , Zhiguo Pei


Received September 20, 2022,Revised , Accepted October 30, 2022, Available online November 08, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 59-67

Polyhalogenated carbazoles (PHCZs) are recently raising much attention due to their toxicity and ubiquitous environmental distribution. However, little knowledge is known about their ambient occurrences and the potential source. In this study, we developed an analytical method based on GC-MS/MS to simultaneously determine 11 PHCZs in PM2.5 from urban Beijing, China. The optimized method provided low method limit of quantifications (MLOQs, 1.45–7.39 fg/m3) and satisfied recoveries (73.4%–109.5%). This method was applied to analyze the PHCZs in the outdoor PM2.5 (n = 46) and fly ash (n = 6) collected from 3 kinds of surrounding incinerator plants (steel plant, medical waste incinerator and domestic waste incinerator). The levels of ∑11PHCZs in PM2.5 ranged from 0.117 to 5.54 pg/m3 (median 1.18 pg/m3). 3-chloro-9H-carbazole (3-CCZ), 3-bromo-9H-carbazole (3-BCZ), and 3,6-dichloro-9H-carbazole (36-CCZ) were the dominant compounds, accounting for 93%. 3-CCZ and 3-BCZ were significantly higher in winter due to the high PM2.5 concentration, while 36-CCZ was higher in spring, which may be related to the resuspending of surface soil. Furthermore, the levels of ∑11PHCZs in fly ash ranged from 338 to 6101 pg/g. 3-CCZ, 3-BCZ and 36-CCZ accounted for 86.0%. The congener profiles of PHCZs between fly ash and PM2.5 were highly similar, indicating that combustion process could be an important source of ambient PHCZs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first research providing the occurrences of PHCZs in outdoor PM2.5.

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