Personal PM2.5-bound PAH exposure and lung function in healthy office workers: A pilot study in Beijing and Baoding, China

Ning Tang , Xuan Zhang , Hao Zhang , Yan Wang , Pengchu Bai , Lulu Zhang , Yongjie Wei


Received May 30, 2022,Revised , Accepted July 14, 2022, Available online July 23, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 48-59

The effect of short-term exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on the respiratory system among healthy residents is unclear. Beijing and Baoding are typical polluted cities in China, and there is little research on PAH exposure and its health effects at the individual level. Fourteen healthy female office workers were recruited in urban Beijing and Baoding, China, in 2019. The personal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5)-bound PAHs and lung function were seasonally monitored. The relationships between PAH exposure and lung function were determined by a generalized mixed linear model. Subjects were exposed to high levels of PAH, in which the benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) level (1.26 ng/m3) was over than Chinese national indoor standard (1 ng/m3). All PAHs concentration was higher in winter than that in summer and autumn. Only benz[a]anthracene (BaA) and chrysene (Chr) exposure showed weak relations with decreased lung function, i.e., a 0.58% and 0.73% decrease in peak expiratory flow at lag 2 day, respectively (p < 0.05). PAHs may not be suitable exposure indicators for short-term change in lung function. Our findings highlight the importance of reducing PAH pollution for public respiratory health protection in heavy-polluted cities of China. This pilot study also provides experience on personal PAH assessment such as estimation of the number of repeated measurements required, which is helpful to determine the relationship between PAH exposure and health effect.

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