The Metropolitan Region of Sao Paulo (MRSP), Brazil, is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world (population 17 million, approx.) and relies heavily on alcohol-based fuels for automobiles. It is estimated that about 40% of the total volume of fuel is ethanol with some vehicles using pure ethanol and others a gasoline/ethanol blend. As such, Sao Paulo is an excellent example of an oxygenates-dominated airshed of mobile sources and is most likely indicative of the future in heavily populated areas in the US such as Los Angeles where "oxy-fuels" are becoming an important replacement for the conventional pure petroleum-based fuels. In this work, we surveyed the ambient air to identify and quantify the organic compounds associated with the evaporative and exhaust emissions of these fuels and to begin to understand the potential for human exposure. Because this was an initial test without detailed prior knowledge of the airshed of the area, we applied two different air sampling methods for various time periods to assess the ambient concentrations of a variety of polar and nonpolar volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For quality assurance (QA), we collected all the samples in duplicate (whole-air samples in Summa canisters and adsorbent-based samples on Perkin-Elmer Air Toxics tubes) at various flow rates to test performance. All samples were collected over identical time frames, typically for 1-, 2-, and 4-h periods per day at six different locations over a period of I week. Overall Sao Paulo results demonstrate that mean concentrations of single-ring aromatics are 2-3 times higher, volatile aldehydes are 5-10 times higher, and simple alcohols 10-100 times higher as compared to results of a recent study performed by EPA in the Los Angeles basin. C-4-C-11 n-alkanes were only slightly elevated in Sao Paulo. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
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