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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) at High Mountain Site in North China: Concentration, Source and Health Risk Assessment

Category: Air Toxics

Volume: 17 | Issue: 11 | Pages: 2867-2877
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.08.0288
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Jing Liu1, Yan Wang2, Peng-Hui Li 1, You-Ping Shou 3, Tao Li2, Min-Min Yang2, Lei Wang4, Jun-Jie Yue1, Xian-Liang Yi5, Li-Qiong Guo6

  • 1 School of Environmental Science and Safety Engineering, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin 300384, China
  • 2 School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China
  • 3 Key Laboratory of Environmental Protection Technology on Water Transport, Ministry of Transport, Tianjin Research Institute for Water Transport Engineering, Tianjin 300384, China
  • 4 Hebei Geological Laboratory, Hebei 071051, China
  • 5 School of Food and Environment, Dalian University of Technology, Panjin 124221, China
  • 6 Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300070, China


Characteristics of PAHs were analyzed in free atmosphere.
Long-range transport of PAHs were observed.
Multiple sources contributed to the PAHs.
The baseline of inhalation exposure values for public health was calculated.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) samples were analyzed at the top of Mount Tai in northern China from June to August of 2015. The mean concentration of PM2.5 was 54.94 µ g m–3 (10–126 µg m–3), and the mean concentration of PM2.5-bound PAHs was 1.359 ng m–3 (0.296–5.349 ng m–3). Phe, Flu and IcdP were the three most abundant PAH species, with a mean concentration of 0.331, 0.128 and 0.100 ng m–3, respectively. Particle phase organics were scavenged at the early stage of cloud/fog event, which cause a clear decrease in PAHs concentration. However, the concentration of PAHs increased after cloud/fog events since the liquid phase organics in clouds could be absorbed by particle phase organics. The results of PAHs levels used potential source contribution function, diagnostic ratio and principal component analysis suggested that significant contributions regions of PAHs at Mount Tai are the north (Hebei Province) and southeast (Henan Province) directions. Furthermore, vehicular emission, coal combustion and biomass combustion were the possible emission sources of PAHs. The estimated inhalation incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) of three groups (Infants, Children, Adults) were less than 1 × 10–6, with mean values of 2.49 × 10–9, 1.14 × 10–8 and 5.09 × 10–8, respectively, suggesting the baseline of inhalation exposure values are acceptable in this present study.


PM2.5 PAHs Concentration Source Risk assessment

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