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Atmospheric Behaviour and Environmental Fate of Semivolatile Pesticides; Heterogeneous Oxidation and Photochemical Degradation


Due to growing awareness (and legislation) there is currently high interest in the atmospheric behaviour and environmental fate of trace-level semivolatile organic pollutants, such as pesticides. However, comprehensive studies on their atmospheric behaviour are limited and are hard to obtain due to the tendency of such compounds to adsorb to the walls and surfaces of experimental apparatuses. Thus, although previous studies indicated that a major portion of applied pesticides wind up in the atmosphere, this i s the medium about which we know the least regarding pesticide fate. We propose to addresses this issue by applying a powerful combination of spectroscopic techniques (ATR-FTIR and long pass IR chamber), which will enable simultaneous monitoring of the gas and condensed phases, in order to gain fundamental information on the reactivity of such semivolatile organic compounds. The proposed research will focus on the oxidation (by O3 and OH radicals) and photolysis of commonly used pesticides, in the gas phase, in the condensed phase, and adsorbed on materials that are typically found in the atmosphere (e.g. aerosols).

The results from these studies (including identification and characterization of volatile and non volatile products) will significantly contribute to a more reliable risk assessments of these pesticides. To further understand the impact of pesticides in the atmosphere, we propose to investigate (using the same apparatus) the effect of pesticides adsorption on atmospheric aerosols on the physical and chemical properties of the later. This information is very important as aerosols play a major role in atmospheric chemistry, radiative balance and human health, and therefore changes in their properties are likely to affect tropospheric chemistry, climate, and their direct impact human health.

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