Occurrence, Seasonal Variation, and Size Resolved Distribution of Arsenic Species in Atmospheric Particulate Matter in an Urban Area in Southeastern Austria
Extensive information is available on total arsenic in particulate matter (PM), but little is known about the relative contribution of each individual species. Recent studies often focus on inorganic arsenic as arsenite and arsenate, neglecting the organoarsenicals, i.e., methylarsine, dimethylarsine, and trimethylarsine or the corresponding oxidized forms methylarsonate, dimethylarsinate, and trimethylarsine oxide, although they were already first detected in PM in the mid-1970s. This work presents results from more than 300 daily PM10 and further size-resolved atmospheric PM samples in the size range from 15 nm to 10 μm collected in an urban environment in Austria during the course of a year. An ion-exchange-HPLC (with anion and cation exchange columns) and an ICPMS/MS system were used to study the seasonal variations of total arsenic and all species known to exist in PM. Inorganic arsenic was present in significant amounts in all samples with highest concentrations during winter, but also all organoarsenicals were detected throughout the year. We show that their contribution cannot be ignored, as particles smaller than <1 μm can contain up to 35% of the water+H2O2 extractable arsenic as methylated species, but only dimethylarsinate showed a clear seasonal trend throughout the year.