Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 59–69 | Cite as

The role of primary and secondary air pollutants in atmospheric pollution: Athens urban area as a case study

  • Ioannis E. Sitaras
  • Panayotis A. Siskos


The question to what extent primary and secondary air pollutants are relevant to atmospheric pollution and their effects on human health and the quality of the environment can be answered in a straight-forward manner: atmospheric processes, including oxidation procedures, particle formation and equilibria, determine the fate of primary emissions and, in most cases, the secondary products of these processes are the more important ones concerning their effects on human health and the quality of the environment. The formation of secondary products represents the critical property determining the establishment of certain air standards, rather than the actually emitted substance, although there are notable exceptions. In this paper, a review concerning transformation of primary pollutants as studied in the atmosphere of Athens is used to enlighten matters that may need further attention by the responsible authorities and stakeholders for the control and reduction of atmospheric pollution.


Photochemical oxidation PAHs Nitro-PAHs Haloacetates Carbonyl compounds Street canyon 



The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the Special Research Account of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens for its continuous support in research projects of the Environmental Analysis Group in the Department of Chemistry, concerning air pollution study in the area of Athens.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Analysis Group, Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry, Department of ChemistryNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensZografos, AthensGreece

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