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© 2017 American Chemical Society. Stable, bioreactive, radicals known as environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) have been found to exist on the surface of airborne PM2.5. These EPFRs have been found to form during many combustion processes, are present in vehicular exhaust, and persist in the environment for weeks and biological systems for up to 12 h. To measure EPFRs in PM samples, high volume samplers are required and measurements are less representative of community exposure; therefore, we developed a novel spatial phytosampling methodology to study the spatial patterns of EPFR concentrations using plants. Leaf samples for laboratory PM analysis were collected from 188 randomly drawn sampling sites within a 500-m buffer zone of pollution sources across a sampling grid measuring 32.9 × 28.4 km in Memphis, Tennessee. PM was isolated from the intact leaves and size fractionated, and EPFRs on PM quantified by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. The radical concentration was found to positively correlate with the EPFR g-value, thus indicating cumulative content of oxygen centered radicals in PM with higher EPFR load. Our spatial phytosampling approach reveals spatial variations and potential "hotspots" risk due to EPFR exposure across Memphis and provides valuable insights for identifying exposure and demographic differences for health studies.

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Environmental Science and Technology

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