Pollution characteristics and health risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during heating season in Beijing

Yuxue Kong , Xurong Bai , Jie Wei , Yanqin Ren , Rui Gao , Fahe Chai , Hong Li , Fei Xu


Received October 31, 2021,Revised , Accepted February 27, 2022, Available online March 11, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 169-182

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their nitrated derivatives (NPAHs) attract continuous attention due to their outstanding carcinogenicity and mutagenicity. In order to investigate the diurnal variations, sources, formation mechanism, and health risk assessment of them in heating season, particulate matter (PM) were collected in Beijing urban area from December 26, 2017 to January 17, 2018. PAHs and NPAHs in PM were quantitatively analyzed via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) . Average daily concentrations of PAHs and NPAHs were (78 ± 54) ng/m3 and (783 ± 684) pg/m3, respectively. The concentrations of them were significantly higher at nighttime than at daytime, and NPAHs concentrations were 1-2 orders of magnitude lower than PAHs concentrations. In the heating season, the dominant species of PAHs include benzo[b]fluoranthene, fluoranthene, pyrene, and chrysene, while 9-nitroanthracene, 2+3-nitrofluoranthene, and 2-nitropyrene were dominant species for NPAHs. NPAHs were found to have a single peak during heating and to be primarily distributed in the 0.4-0.7 µm particle size. Primary emissions such as biomass burning, coal combustion, and traffic emissions were the major sources of PAHs. NPAHs were produced by the primary source of vehicle emissions and the secondary reaction triggered by OH radicals, as well as biomass burning during daytime. According to the health risk assessment, the total carcinogenic risk was higher in adults than in children. While upon oral ingestion, the carcinogenic risk in children was higher than that of adults, but the risk of adults was higher than children through skin contact and respiratory inhalation.

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