When compared to the European guidelines, PM10 (particulate matter up to 10-μm size) concentrations in Algeria are often exceeding the maximum limits, and in general, no information exists on the compounds bound on its surface. The objective of this study was to measure the dioxin-like activity of polychlorinated dibenzodioxines and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the PM10 fraction at the Sour El Ghozlane cement plant in Algeria. PM10 samples (n = 23) were taken between 24 March and 15 April 2013, using a medium volume sampler and 47-mm PTFE filters. The 24-h samples were dried to determine the PM10 content and afterward extracted, cleaned up, and analyzed with the dioxin-responsive element–chemical-activated luciferase gene expression (DRE-CALUX) bioassay. Our results showed that the measured bioanalytical equivalents (BEQs) were similar to those in other international industrial sites worldwide. The PCDD/Fs and dioxin-like PCBs (dl-PCBs) were positively correlated (rho = 0.6, p = 0.002), indicating that they have similar sources. Furthermore, samples from March showed higher PCDD/F and dl-PCB BEQs and humidity but lower temperatures compared to samples from April, while there was no difference in the PM10 concentrations between the two months. These results reveal that PM10 alone is not a good proxy and that meteorological conditions are an important factor in assessing dioxin-like pollution in the atmosphere. It seems that, at present, there is no health hazard through direct airborne human exposure to dioxin-like pollutants in PM10 from this site. However, it is important to monitor these POPs for a longer period of time and also to gain more insight in their distribution between the particulate and gas phase in relation to meteorological conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis