Carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitropolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nitro-PAHs) have been identified in airborne particulate organic matter extracts. The pollutant sources were generally contributed by motor vehicles and industrial activity. Massive quantities of urban solid wastes, containing plastic materials such as PVC, PET, PS, and PE, burnt in the open air in local garbage dumps are frequently found in developing countries. In this study, the smog particulates from the combustion of these synthetic polymers were produced in a laboratory combustion chamber. The mutagenicity of acetone extracts from the smog particulates was evaluated with Salmonella typhimurium TA98 and TA100 in the presence and absence of S9 mix. Four samples in TA98 exhibited higher mutagenicity than those in TA100. The greatest mutagenicity was observed from the extracts of particulates from combustion of PVC followed by that of PS, PET, and PE. To determine the major mutagenic compounds in these samples, mutagens were partially purified through TLC and their mutagenicity was monitored with TA98. 1-NP and DNPs in the above samples were also determined by HPLC. The amounts of 1-NP and DNPs generally corresponded with their mutagenicity. Higher levels of 1-NP and DNPS from the combustion of PVC, PET, and PS. the combustion of synthetic polymer wastes might be responsible for the presence of high levels of 1-NP and DNPs in Taiwan urban air.
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