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Air Mapping of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Their Uptake by Crops in the Urban Area of Nice, France

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This work highlights the first assessment of crop contamination by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in two different atmospheric environments in the urban area of Nice revealing the sensitivity of crops to atmospheric persistent organic pollutants. Light PAHs present in the gaseous phase, seem to bioaccumulate while heavy PAHs are absent in vegetation. A link between concentrations found in vegetables and PAH cadastral emission data is presented. The first results could be used as a possible guidance for urban agriculture.


Abstract

Urban gardening is becoming increasingly popular. Air pollution, which is a major concern in cities might, however, threaten food safety and thus must be assessed. Health risks arise particularly from toxic persistent organic pollutants such as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are formed by incomplete combustion. A first assessment of crop contamination in two different atmospheric environments in the urban area of Nice reveals a predominance of light PAHs. These pollutants present in the gaseous phase, seem to bioaccumulate while heavy PAHs are absent in vegetation. By understanding the PAH sources and their behavior in the atmosphere but also by analyzing the spatial and temporal data since the European directive in 2004, a link between concentrations found in vegetables grown in experimental gardens and PAH cadastral emission data is presented. The first results could be used as a possible guidance for urban agriculture.

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