Occurrence, Fate and Impact of Atmospheric Pollutants on Environmental Health

Throughout the world, urban and agricultural communities have become more spatially intertwined resulting in blurred land use boundaries. Thousands of persistent and non-persistent organic pollutants are emitted to the atmosphere from primary and secondary sources. Emissions from urban, agricultural, and natural areas, such as particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and semi-volatile organic pollutants, can decrease overall air quality and negatively affect human health. These atmospheric pollutants can also be transported an deposited to proximate and remote ecosystems leading to adverse effects. After being emitted to the atmosphere, pollutants are subject to a variety of processes, such as diffusive air-water, air-soil and air-vegetation exchanges, gas-particle partitioning, dry/wet deposition, photochemical degradation, etc. All of these processes may influence their atmospheric occurrence, transport, deposition, and impact on the environment. This publication, developed after a symposium at the 2012 Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry World Congress in Berlin Germany, examines emerging trends in research related to the role of the atmosphere in facilitating the global transport of pollutants and as an exposure pathway for humans and wildlife. Major topics include the examination of atmospheric processes controlling the fate and transport of persistent organic pollutants; modeling and assessment of human and wildlife exposure; and novel approaches for utilizing the atmosphere as a tool to assess sources of contamination.