Journal of chromatography. A

Monitoring of atmospheric gaseous and particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in South African platinum mines utilising portable denuder sampling with analysis by thermal desorption-comprehensive gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

PMID 25582484


Concentrations of diesel particulate matter and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in platinum mine environments are likely to be higher than in ambient air due to the use of diesel machinery in confined environments. Airborne PAHs may be present in gaseous or particle phases each of which has different human health impacts due to their ultimate fate in the body. Here we report on the simultaneous sampling of both phases of airborne PAHs for the first time in underground platinum mines in South Africa, which was made possible by employing small, portable denuder sampling devices consisting of two polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) multi-channel traps connected in series separated by a quartz fibre filter, which only require small, battery operated portable personal sampling pumps for air sampling. Thermal desorption coupled with comprehensive gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (TD-GC×GC-TofMS) was used to analyse denuder samples taken in three different platinum mines. The samples from a range of underground environments revealed that PAHs were predominantly found in the gas phase with naphthalene and mono-methylated naphthalene derivatives being detected at the highest concentrations ranging from 0.01 to 18 μg m(-3). The particle bound PAHs were found in the highest concentrations at the idling load haul dump vehicle exhausts with a dominance of fluoranthene and pyrene. Particle associated PAH concentrations ranged from 0.47 to 260 ng m(-3) and included benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[a]pyrene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene and benzo[ghi]perylene. This work highlights the need to characterise both phases in order to assess occupational exposure to PAHs in this challenging sampling environment.