Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

Summer 6-2023

Publication Title

Science of the Total Environment




Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are well-known for their recalcitrant properties and biotoxicity in organisms, leading to serious environmental and health problems. Despite various analytical methods available, accurate determination of the bioavailable fraction is warranted in order to evaluate the precise toxic potentials of these compounds. Currently, the passive sampler is used worldwide to measure the bioavailable PAHs in the environment using the equilibrium partitioning principle. In this study, we co-deployed different types of passive samplers, which are linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE), to determine freely dissolved concentrations (Cfree) of PAHs using the performance reference compounds (PRCs) in Kentucky Lake (KL), Ohio River (OH), and Mississippi River (MS). The fractional equilibrium (feq) of BeP-d12 was observed to be high in LLDPE compared with LDPE in OH and MS. In contrast, the feq of all PRCs was similar in both passive samplers in KL due to slow flow velocity. The sum of average freely dissolved PAH concentrations in LLDPE and LDPE during the exposure period were 2.89 and 1.27 ng/L in KL, 8.13 and 3.31 ng/L in OH, and 5.19 and 3.82 ng/L in MS, respectively. The results revealed that LLDPE is a suitable alternative tool to LDPE for both short-term and long-term monitoring of PAHs.


This is an unreviewed manuscript of a peer-reviewed article published by Elsevier in Science of The Total Environment, available at



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