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Observations of atmospheric monoaromatic hydrocarbons at urban, semi-urban and forest environments in the Amazon region

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Paralovo, S. L., Borillo, G. C., Barbosa, C. G. G., Godoi, A. F. L., Yamamoto, C. I., de Souza, R. A. F., et al. (2016). Observations of atmospheric monoaromatic hydrocarbons at urban, semi-urban and forest environments in the Amazon region. Atmospheric Environment, 128, 175-184. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2015.12.053.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-C1FF-7
The Amazon region is one of the most significant natural ecosystems on the planet. Of special interest as a major study area is the interface between the forest and Manaus city, a state capital in Brazil embedded in the heart of the Amazon forest. In view of the interactions between natural and anthropogenic processes, an integrated experiment was conducted measuring the concentrations of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and meta, ortho, para-xylene (known as BTEX), all of them regarded as pollutants with harmful effects on human health and vegetation and acting also as important precursors of tropospheric ozone. Furthermore, these compounds also take part in the formation of secondary organic aerosols, which can influence the pattern of cloud formation, and thus the regional water cycle and climate. The samples were collected in 2012/2013 at three different sites: (i) The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO), a pristine rain forest region in the central Amazon Basin; (ii) Manacapuru, a semi-urban site located southwest and downwind of Manaus as a preview of the Green Ocean Amazon Experiment (GoAmazon 2014/15); and (iii) the city of Manaus (distributed over three sites). Results indicate that there is an increase in pollutant concentrations with increasing proximity to urban areas. For instance, the benzene concentration ranges were 0.237-19.6 (Manaus), 0.036-0.948 (Manacapuru) and 0.018-0.313 mu g m(-3) (ATTO). Toluene ranges were 0.700-832 (Manaus), 0.091 -2.75 mu g m(-3) (Manacapuru) and 0.011-4.93 (ATTO). For ethylbenzene, they were 0.165-447 (Manaus), 0.018-1.20 mu g m(-3) (Manacapuru) and 0.047-0.401 (ATM). Some indication was found for toluene to be released from the forest. No significant difference was found between the BTEX levels measured in the dry season and the wet seasons. Furthermore, it was observed that, in general, the city of Manaus seems to be less impacted by these pollutants than other cities in Brazil and in other countries, near the coastline or on the continent. A risk analysis for the health of Manaus' population was performed and indicated that the measured concentrations posed a risk for development of chronic diseases and cancer for the population of Manaus. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.