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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 13 Feb 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Non-target and suspect characterisation of organic contaminants in Arctic air, Part II: Application of a new tool for identification and prioritisation of chemicals of emerging Arctic concern in air

Laura Röhler1,2, Martin Schlabach2, Peter Haglund3, Knut Breivik2,4, Roland Kallenborn1, and Pernilla Bohlin-Nizzetto2 Laura Röhler et al.
  • 1Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Sciences (KBM), Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway
  • 2Department of Environmental Chemistry, NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
  • 3Department of Chemistry, University of Umeå, Umeå, Sweden
  • 4Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Abstract. The Norwegian Arctic possess a unique environment for the detection of new potential chemicals of emerging Arctic concern (CEACs) due to remoteness, sparsely populated and the low number of local contamination sources. Hence, a contaminant present in Arctic air is still considered a priority indication for its environmental stability and environmental mobility. Today, legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and related conventional environmental pollutants are already well-studied since their identification as Arctic pollutants in the 1980s. Many of them are implemented and reported in various national and international monitoring activities including the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP). These standard monitoring schemes, however, are based on compound specific quantitative analytical methods. Under such conditions, the possibility for identification of hitherto unidentified contaminants is limited and randomly, at the best. Today, new and advanced technological developments allow a broader, unspecific analytical approach as either targeted multi-component analysis or suspect and non-target screening strategies. In order to facilitate such a wide range of compounds, a wide-scope sample clean-up method for high-volume air samples, based on a combination of adsorbents was applied, followed by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography separation and low-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometric detection (GC×GC-LRMS). During the here reported study, simultaneous non-target and suspect screening were applied. The detection of over 700 compounds of interest in the particle phase and over 1200 compounds in the gaseous phase is reported. Of those, 62 compounds were confirmed with reference standards and 90 compounds with a probable structure (based upon mass spectrometric interpretation and library spectrum comparison). These included compounds already detected in Arctic matrices and compounds not detected previously (see also Figure 1). In addition, 241 compounds were assigned tentative structure or compound class. Hitherto unknown halogenated compounds, which are not listed in the used mass spectral libraries, were also detected and partly identified.

Laura Röhler et al.

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Laura Röhler et al.

Laura Röhler et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
A new clean-up method for SUS/NTS of organic contaminants was applied on high-volume Arctic air samples. A large number of known and new potential organic chemicals of emerging Arctic concern were identified and prioritised with GCxGC-LRMS. 60 % of the identified contaminants (not yet detected in Arctic samples) are not meeting todays accepted criteria for LRATP into polar environments. Without our empirical confirmation, they would not have been considered as potential Arctic contaminants.
A new clean-up method for SUS/NTS of organic contaminants was applied on high-volume Arctic air...