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Health risks and sources of trace elements and black carbon in PM2.5 from 2019 to 2021 in Beijing

Yongchun Liu , Chenjie Hua , Wei Ma , Feixue Zheng , Yusheng Zhang , Jiali Xie , Li Ma , Boying Song , Chao Yan , Hongyan Li , Zhen Liu , Qian Liu , Markku Kulmala


Received January 28, 2023,Revised , Accepted May 14, 2023, Available online May 23, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 69-82

A comprehensive health risk assessment of PM2.5 is meaningful to understand the current status and directions regarding further improving air quality from the perspective of human health. In this study, we evaluated the health risks of PM2.5 as well as highly toxic inorganic components, including heavy metals (HMs) and black carbon (BC) based on long-term observations in Beijing from 2019 to 2021. Our results showed that the relative risks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, acute lower respiratory tract infection, ischemic heart disease, and stroke decreased by 4.07%-9.30% in 2020 and 2.12%-6.70% in 2021 compared with 2019. However, they were still at high levels ranging from 1.26 to 1.77, in particular, stroke showed the highest value in 2021. Mn had the highest hazard quotient (HQ, from 2.18 to 2.56) for adults from 2019 to 2021, while Ni, Cr, Pb, As, and BC showed high carcinogenic risks (CR > 1.0×10−6) for adults. The HQ values of Mn and As and the CR values of Pb and As showed constant or slight upwards trends during our observations, which is in contrast to the downward trends of other HMs and PM2.5. Mn, Cr, and BC are crucial toxicants in PM2.5. A significant shrink of southern region sourcesof HMs and BCshrank suggests the increased importance of local sources. Industry, dust, and biomass burning are the major contributors to the non-carcinogenic risks, while traffic emissions and industry are the dominant contributors to the carcinogenic risks in Beijing.

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