Distribution of organophosphate esters between the gas and particle phase – model predictions vs. measured data


Gas-particle partitioning is one of the key factors that affects the environmental fate of semi volatile organic chemicals. Many organophosphate esters (OPEs) have been reported to primarily partition to particles in the atmosphere. However, because of the wide range of their physicochemical properties, it is unlikely that OPEs are mainly in the particle phase “as a class”. We compared gas-particle partitioning predictions for 32 OPEs made by the commonly used OECD POV and LRTP Screening Tool (“the Tool”) with the partitioning models of Junge-Pankow (J-P) and Harner-Bidleman (H-B), as well as recently measured data on OPE gas-particle partitioning. The results indicate that half of the tested OPEs partition into the gas phase. Partitioning into the gas phase seems to be determined by an octanol-air partition coefficient (log KOA) < 10 and a subcooled liquid vapour pressure (log PL) > –5, as well as the total suspended particle concentration (TSP) in the sampling area. The uncertainty of the physicochemical property data of the OPEs did not change this estimate. Furthermore, the predictions by the Tool, J-P- and H-B-models agreed with recently measured OPE gas-particle partitioning.
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