Soil-borne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in El Paso, Texas: Analysis of a Potential Problem in the United States/Mexico Border Region

Journal of Hazardous Materials, Volume 163, Issues 2-3, 30 April 2009, Pages 946-958

Roberto J. De La Torre-Roche, Wen-Yee Lee, and Sandra I. Campos-Díaz

“Ultrasonic extraction followed by Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE) and thermal desorption inline coupled with Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (TD/GC/MS) was used to perform a comprehensive determination of soil-borne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in El Paso, Texas. The method provided good sensitivity and faster processing time for the analysis. The total PAHs in El Paso soil ranged from 0.1 to 2225.5 μg kg−1. Although the majority of PAH concentrations did not exceed the soil screening levels regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the existence of PAHs in this ecosystem is ubiquitous. Naphthalene were found in 100% of the soil samples; while the heavy PAHs (five- and six-ring) were not often detected and mostly remained in closer proximity to industrial areas and major traffic points. The results ruled out the possibility of petroleum refining as the significant source of local soil-borne PAH contamination, but they suggested that the PAHs found in El Paso soil were closely linked to human activities and possible other industrial processes.”