Environmental risk assessment

Mixed uncertainty analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon inhalation andrisk assessment in ambient air of Beijing

YU Yajuan , GUO Huaicheng , LIU Yong , HUANG Kai , WANG Zhen , ZHAN Xinye


Received June 23, 2007,Revised October 22, 2007, Accepted , Available online

Volume 20,2008,Pages 505-512

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This article presents the application of an integrated method that estimates the dispersion of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in air, and assesses the human health risk associated with PAHs inhalation. An uncertainty analysis method consisting of three components were applied in this study, where the three components include a bootstrapping method for analyzing the whole process associated uncertainty, an inhalation rate (IR) representation for evaluating the total PAH inhalation risk for human health, and a normally distributed absorption fraction (AF) ranging from 0% to 100% to represent the absorption capability of PAHs in human body. Using this method, an integrated process was employed to assess the health risk of the residents in Beijing, China, from inhaling PAHs in the air. The results indicate that the ambient air PAHs in Beijing is an important contributor to human health impairment, although over 68% of residents seem to be safe from daily PAH carcinogenic inhalation. In general, the accumulated daily inhalation amount is relatively higher for male and children at 10 years old of age than for female and children at 6 years old. In 1997, about 1.73% cancer sufferers in Beijing were more or less related to ambient air PAHs inhalation. At 95% confidence interval, approximately 272–309 individual cancer incidences can be attributed to PAHs pollution in the air. The probability of greater than 500 cancer occurrence is 15.3%. While the inhalation of ambient air PAHs was shown to be an important factor responsible for higher cancer occurrence in Beijing, while the contribution might not be the most significant one.

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