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Methyl chloride and the U.S. cigarette.


Various brands and types of cigarettes were purchased at retail locations in southern California. Volatile gas samples were analyzed using multicolumn/multidetector gas chromatography. Results showed methyl chloride (CH(3)Cl) levels as much as four orders of magnitude higher than typical urban levels, about 30-500 ppmv (1.5-5.3 mg/cigarette), compared with about 500 pptv in urban air. The concentration of CH(3)Cl correlated well with the levels of both CO (r (2) = 0.63) and CO(2) (r (2) = 0.77), showing the link between CH(3)Cl and combustion. In some brands, CH(3)Cl levels were well above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's maximum exposure limit of 200 ppmv. Light branded cigarettes tended to have higher CH(3)Cl levels than the heavier and filtered brands, possibly showing the dependence of cigarette packing on CH(3)Cl production. In addition, CH(3)Cl emitted from cigarette smoke may prove to be an important anthropogenic source of CH(3)Cl in the United States, at about 5%.

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