Great Lakes Air Deposition Program
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Great Lakes Air Deposition Program Sponsored Projects
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Project Title: Dioxin Monitoring in Air Collected Near the Great Lakes
Synopsis: Dioxins are well-known, highly toxic pollutants produced by the combustion
of any fuel containing chlorinated organic compounds, such as polyvinyl chloride.
Dioxins produced in this way enter the atmosphere, where there can be transported
and deposited to the Great Lakes, among other places. However, monitoring of
atmospheric dioxins concentrations in the Great Lakes region is sparse and insufficient
to estimate loading to the lakes or trends across time and space. This project
is filling this important knowledge gap by monitoring for a wide range of dioxins
and furans a several sites across the region for a period of two years.
Chemicals Studied: The project is monitoring polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins
(also known as dioxins or PCDDS) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (also known
as furans or PCDFs). In addition to total PCDDs and PCDFs, the project is determining
totals of the tetra-, penta-, hexa-, and hepta- groups of each, six individual
dioxin congeners and ten furan congeners.
Geographic Areas: Monitoring is taking place at four U.S. stations of the
Integrated Atmospheric Deposition Network (IADN). The stations are located
at Eagle Harbor, Michigan (Lake Superior); Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan and
Chicago, Illinois (Lake Michigan); and Sturgeon Point, New York (Lake Erie).
These stations offer coverage of three of the five lakes and a significant
portion of the region from north to south and east to west. In addition, the
two locations on Lake Michigan will offer insight into differences between
urban and rural regions.
Project Duration: Monitoring samples are being taken every 24 days for two
years, starting in summer of 2004 and running through summer of 2006. A final
report and preliminary findings will be available by fall of 2006.
Methods Used: Gaseous and particulate phases are collected by standard IADN
methods. Samples are collected by a high volume air sampler fitted with a
quartz fiber filter and a XAD-2 resin column. The two phases are combined
and sent for analysis at a commercial laboratory. Data will be analyzed to
determine trends and estimates of total deposition to the lakes studies.
Potential Results and Implications: The concentrations and loading calculations
will be the first of their kind and extremely valuable in their own right.
They can be compared to historical values of deposition rates obtained from
sediment cores to determine if the loadings to the lakes have decreased. This
information will, in turn, be useful in determining if emission controls have
been effective or if additional controls are needed. The results will be important
as input and for validating models used to predict the distribution of these
chemicals in the Great Lakes atmosphere and environment.
Ronald A. Hites, Ph.D.
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Bloomington, IN 47405