Atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), nitro-PAHs and oxy-PAHs are emitted from primary sources. Some nitro-PAHs and oxy-PAHs can also arise from secondary formation in the atmosphere. To assess the relative importance of these sources, the polycyclic aromatic compound (PAC) concentrations were determined at a roadside (Roadside site) and on a rooftop (Urban Background site) in downtown Tokyo Japan. The concentrations of PAHs, 1-nitropyrene and oxy-PAHs at the Roadside site were higher than those at the Urban Background site, while 2-nitrofluoranthene levels were the same at both sites. However, the mean ratios of concentrations at the Urban Background site to the Roadside site were in the order 1,8-naphthalic anhydride>9,10- anthraquinone>PAHs or 1-nitropyrene or acenaphthenequinone or benzanthrone. This suggests that in addition to vehicle emissions, a considerable fraction of some of the oxy-PAHs studied originates from another source, which might be secondary formation by atmospheric PAH degradation, and this contribution varied among the oxy-PAHs.
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