Arthur Chan

Arthur Chan 2Associate Professor
B.S. (University of Pennsylvania), M.S., Ph.D. (California Institute of Technology)
Canada Research Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry and Health
Principal Investigator, Environmental Organics Laboratory
Room: WB201B | Tel.: (416)-978-2602 | Email:



American Geophysical Union
American Association for Aerosol Research
Chemical Institute of Canada

Research Interests

Our group conducts laboratory experiments and field measurements of organic compounds in urban areas to identify their sources and chemical properties. Our current topics include:

Volatile Organic Compound and Particulate Matter Emissions from Food Cooking

We study the mechanisms by which heated cooking oil degrade and emit pollutants. For example, cooking oil can break down and react with amino acids during meat cooking to form toxic amides. We have also measured the emissions from a modern air fryer and assess its potential to contribute to indoor air pollution.

Volatile Chemical Products in Canada

We are currently building a comprehensive detailed database of organic species emitted from volatile chemical product use, such as paint, solvent, personal care products and pesticides. This database will be used to assess emerging sources of air pollution in Canadian cities.

Mechanisms of atmospheric reactions

We study reaction mechanisms through controlled laboratory experiments, using different chemical reactors to simulate atmospheric oxidation. We investigate topics including reactions between organic compounds and sulfur dioxide to form sulfuric acid in the atmosphere, and oxidation of food cooking emissions and engine exhaust into potentially more toxic species.

Wildfire-derived pollutants

In the past, our group has studied major wildfires, such as the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires, and their long term human health and environmental impacts. As part of the BBCan project, we are also currently measuring particulate matter emitted from biomass burning to assess their potential to form toxic species.

Health impacts of air pollutants

Using chemical information, we study the health impacts of particulate matter. We collaborate with the Faculty of Medicine to study the sub-chronic effects of pollutants on pulmonary health. We study the mechanisms by which particulate matter exposure leads to exacerbation of lung diseases (such as cystic fibrosis) and respiratory infections. We have also studied the emissions and fate of cannabis smoking and vaping and the effects on the indoor environment.

Selected Publications

Ditto, J.C.*, Abbatt, J.P.D., and Chan, A. W. H.: Gas- and Particle-Phase Amide Emissions from Cooking: Mechanisms and Air Quality Impacts. Environ. Sci. Technol. 56, 7741−7750, 2022.

Han, J., Wang, S.*, Yeung, K., Yang, D., Gu, W., Ma, Z., Sun, J., Wang, X., Chow, C. W., Chan, A. W. H., Peng, H.: Proteome-Wide Effects Of Naphthalene-Derived Secondary Organic Aerosol In Beas-2B Cells Are Caused By Short-Lived Unsaturated Carbonyls. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 117, 41, 25386–25395, 2020

Kohl, L*, Meng, M*, de Vera, J., Bergquist, B., Cooke, C.A., Hustins, S., Jackson, B., Chow, C.W. and Chan, A.W.H.: Limited retention of wildfire-derived PAHs and trace elements in indoor environments, Geophys. Res. Lett., 2019