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Ionicon Analytik Ges.m.b.H.



Traffic and personal care products have effects on air quality – a PTR-TOF study

Trace gases contribute significantly to the formation of potential hazardous air pollutants like ozone and secondary aerosols. Learn what two PTR-TOF VOC monitoring sites in Innsbruck discovered.

PTR-TOF VOC monitoring sites track Innsbruck's urban environment

The air quality in urban areas is affected by the abundance of trace gases like ozone as well as fine particulate matter. The monitoring and control of concentrations and the corresponding emission sources is of vital importance for the health of all citizens and the environment.

Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) contribute significantly to the formation of potential hazardous air pollutants like ozone and secondary aerosol particles. In urban areas, NMVOC like benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) can typically be found as these are associated with combustion related processes like traffic. 

While solvents have historically been recognized as a significant source of NMVOC (e.g. Theloke, 2007), new measurements based on Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) technology (e.g. Karl et al., 2018Coggon et al., 2021) revealed that the use of personal care products like deodorants, chemical solvents from paintings, adhesives and others contribute significantly to the emission of so-called volatile care products (VCP). Siloxanes for example are associated with personal care products. PTR-MS is a measurement technique that allows the real-time, quantitative, and simultaneous detection of a broad range of trace VOC and VCP.

Rapid monitoring of NMVOC fluxes and concentrations reveal the complexity of NMVOC distributions in urban areas. Here, we look at the observations from two measurement sites in the city of Innsbruck. The Innsbruck Atmospheric Observatory (IAO) of the University of Innsbruck (Karl et al., 2020) is in the center of Innsbruck. The second measurement site is located at the headquarters of IONICON in the business district to the east of Innsbruck. Here, we operate our newest generation PTR-TOFMS instruments.

Results and figures of the comparative study can be found here.