Jingzhi Wang1,2, Zhibao Dong1,3, Xiaoping Li1, Meiling Gao4, Steven Sai Hang Ho2,5, Gehui Wang2, Shun Xiao1, Junji Cao 2,6

National Demonstration Center for Experimental Geography Education, School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710062, China
Key Lab of Aerosol Chemistry & Physics, State Key Lab of Loess and Quaternary Geology (SKLLQG), Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an 710061, China
Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Environmental Health Sciences Division, School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV 89512, USA
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China

Received: September 24, 2017
Revised: January 4, 2018
Accepted: January 5, 2017
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.09.0333  

Cite this article:
Wang, J., Dong, Z., Li, X., Gao, M., Ho, S.S.H., Wang, G., Xiao, S. and Cao, J. (2018). Intra-Urban Levels, Spatial Variability, Possible Sources and Health Risks of PM2.5 Bound Phthalate Esters in Xi’an. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 18: 485-496. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.09.0333


  • PM2.5 bound PAEs were widely detected at 19 communities in winter in Xi’an, China.
  • PAEs showed a declined trend long with the urban to suburban.
  • DEHP was the dominant species, followed by BBZP.
  • The cancer risk assessment showed infants are the most susceptible population.


Phthalate esters (PAEs) are abundant semi-volatile organic compounds in fine particulate. PM2.5 bound PAEs can inhale into the body with breath, which can cause negative effects to human health. In this study, total of 266 PM2.5 samples dispersed from nineteen communities in Xi’an, were collected at December, 2013, the heavy pollution periods. Most of them are from residential areas, and four of them are in universities. Much high levels of PAEs were obtained in this study, which were from 271.7 to 2134 ng m–3 (952.6 ng m–3 on average). DEHP was the dominant species, with an average of 402.4 ng m–3, and attributed for 42.2% of the total PAEs, followed by BBZP (146.8 ng m–3 on average) and accounted for 15.4% of the total PAEs. Relative humidity and ventilation coefficient are the two meteorological factors affect the PAEs pollutions during the sampling periods. PAEs showed a declined trend from the urban to suburban. The principal component analysis (PCA) investigated that the release from plasticizer using in vinyl flooring, inks, synthetic leather, adhesives, and food contact wrapping; and emissions from cosmetics and personal care products, varnish, and volatilization from solid waste landfill or sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plant are the main sources for PAEs (86.8% of total PAEs). The daily inhalation and cancer risk assessment displayed that possible risk for all age group persons in this area, and infants are the most susceptible population.

Keywords: Phthalate esters; Nineteen communities; Spatial variability; Possible sources; Health risks.


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