Chemical Space Analysis of Particulate Matter for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

The degree of air pollution risk is measured by mass via passive air sampling collection via filters currently. The particulate matter (PM) collected from the air samples is weighed and the corresponding weight is used to establish the severity of the air pollution. While PM is known to be a group 1 carcinogen, the lack of further chemical analysis for compounds adsorbed to the PM leads to an underestimation of the dangers involved when inhalation of the PM is taken into consideration. Flame retardants, pesticides, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances have been found on PM samples, all of which have negative health effects, including, but not limited to, neurotoxic effects, lower birth weight, and liver, brain, and thyroid cancer. Given that these environmental contaminants are being carried by PM directly into people, there is a critical need to analyze air pollution more thoroughly to get a more accurate picture of the risks.

Overall objectives:

  1. Analyze air pollution samples from The Philippines for POPs using targeted analysis followed by non-targeted analysis for any  uncommon or new environmental contaminants that may have been adsorbed to the PM.
  2. Establish trends in POP levels over time using samples that have been collected over the course of 2001-2011 from The  Philippines.