2- and 3-Nitrobenzanthrones (NBAs) in airborne particles collected in central Tokyo on a seasonal basis from 1996 to 2001 are quantified and possible sources are investigated. The concentrations of 2- and 3-NBA are found to range from 49 to 831 fmol m-3and 0.5 to 3.5 fmol m-3, while the nitrated polycyclic hydrocarbons 1-nitropyrene and 2-nitrofluoranthene are found at concentrations of 100-492 fmol m-3 and 10-97 fmol m-3. Significant linear correlations are identified between 2-NBA and NO 2, a photochemical product, suggesting that 2-NBA is formed by atmospheric reactions of benzanthrone initiated by hydroxyl or nitrate radicals in the presence of NO2. 2-NBA is not correlated with directly emitted compounds such as 1-nitropyrene. The concentration ratio of 2-NBA to 1-nitropyrene is 5 or greater in all samples. Nitrated polycyclic aromatic compounds formed by atmospheric reactions therefore appear to represent a substantial contribution to the mutagenicity of airborne particulate matter.
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