New research in Journal of Environmental Protection: “Levels and Sources of Atmospheric Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Surrounding an Oil Refinery in Curaçao”

One month ago, Erin L. Pulster et al. (Mote Marine Laboratory, USA) published new research findings in the Journal of Environmental Protection (“Levels and Sources of Atmospheric Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Surrounding an Oil Refinery in Curaçao,” March 2019) concerning the environmental impact of the Isla-refinery. Their article can be obtained here. The abstract follows here below.


This research measured ambient levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) surrounding a petrochemical complex on the island of Curacao using passive air sampling. In addition, source elucidation of PAHs was conducted using concentration profiles, distribution profiles, binary diagnostic ratios and factor analysis. Passive air samplers with polyurethane foam collection disks (PAS-PUFs) were deployed in 2011 (n = 43) and in 2014 (n = 30) to evaluate the extent of the emission plume as well as spatial and temporal differences in ambient PAH concentrations. In general, ambient PAH concentrations in Curacao were consistent with other urban and industrialized regions of the world; however, the levels measured downwind of Isla Refineriá petrochemical complex were among some of the highest reported ambient PAHs globally. Ambient PAH concentrations ranged from 1.2 to 790 ng/min 2011 and 27 to 660 ng/m3 in 2014, demonstrating no temporal differences. However, significant spatial differences were detected between samples collected upwind and downwind of the petrochemical complex. Significantly higher ambient PAH concentrations were found in the samples collected downwind of the petrochemical complex compared to those upwind in 2014 (p < 0. 0001). Source elucidation revealed the ambient PAHs downwind were dominated by petrogenic emission sources and to a lesser degree pyrogenic emissions, whereas, the upwind locations appear to be equally influenced by both petrogenic and pyrogenic emissions sources.

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