Passive Air Sampling of PCDD/Fs, PCBs, PAEs, DEHA, and PAHs from Informal Electronic Waste Recycling and Allied Sectors in Indian Megacities

Xenobiotic chemical emissions from the informal electronic waste recycling (EW) sector are emerging problem for developing countries, with scale and impacts that are yet to be evaluated. We report an intensive polyurethane foam disk passive air sampling study in four megacities in India to investigate atmospheric organic pollutants along five transects viz., EW, information technology (IT), industrial, residential, and dumpsites. Intraurban emission sources were estimated and attributed by trajectory modeling and positive matrix factorization (PMF). ∑17PCDD/Fs, ∑25PCBs, ∑7plasticizers, and ∑15PAHs concentrations ranged from 3.1 to 26 pg/m3 (14 ± 7; Avg ± SD), 0.5–52 ng/m3 (9 ± 12); 7.5–520 ng/m3, (63 ± 107) and 6–33 ng/m3 (17 ± 6), respectively. EW contributed 45% of total PCB concentrations in this study and was evidenced as a major factor by PMF. The dominance of dioxin-like PCBs (dl-PCBs), particularly PCB-126, reflects combustion as the possible primary emission source. PCDD/Fs, PCBs and plasticizers were consistently highest at EW transect, while PAHs were maximum in industrial transect followed by EW. Concentrations of marker plasticizers (DnBP and DEHP) released during EW activities were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in Bangalore than in other cities. Toxic equivalents (TEQs) due to dl-PCBs was maximum in the EW transect and PCB-126 was the major contributor. For both youth and adult, the highest estimated inhalation risks for dl-PCBs and plasticizers were seen at the EW transect in Bangalore, followed by Chennai and New Delhi.