Yen-Kung Hsieh1, Wei-Sheng Chen 1, Jinning Zhu 2, Yi-Jing Wu3, Qianli Huang4

Department of Resources Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan
School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Anhui, Hefei 246011, China
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
School of Biological and Medical Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Anhui, Hefei 230009, China

Received: December 20, 2017
Revised: February 4, 2018
Accepted: February 4, 2018
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Cite this article:
Hsieh, Y.K., Chen, W.S., Zhu, J., Wu, Y.J. and Huang, Q. (2018). Health Risk Assessment and Correlation Analysis on PCDD/Fs in the Fly Ash from a Municipal Solid Waste Incineration Plant. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 18: 734-748.


  • Characterization of PCDD/Fs in fly ash.
  • Clustering and correlation analysis of PCDD/Fs in fly ash.
  • Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk assessment of PCDD/Fs in fly ash.
  • Sensitivity analysis of PCDD/Fs in fly ash.


Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) in fly ash may pose health threats to onsite workers due to their inevitable dispersion in the working environments during recycling and disposal of fly ash from Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators (MSWIs). Here, PCDD/Fs in fly ash from an MSWI in Southern Taiwan was analyzed from several perspectives. The results can be summarized as follows: (1) Through multiple comparison analyses, it was revealed that four types of congeners (OCDD, OCDF, 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDD and 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDF) have significantly higher concentrations than other species (p < 0.01). (2) 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF represented the main contributor to the total toxic equivalent concentration (TEQ). The top three candidate indicators of total TEQ are OCDF, 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDF and 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF, in which OCDF might be most powerful indicator of fly ash from similar sources. (3) It was indicated that all congeners correlated positively with each other (with R2 values in the range between 0.707–0.939); Meanwhile, the results of the cluster analysis unveiled the specific features of several congeners (such as 1,2,3,7,8,9-HxCDF, OCDD and OCDF). (4) Through assessing health risk with a Monte Carlo simulation, both the 95th percentile carcinogenic risk (CR) and non-carcinogenic risk (non-CR) for onsite workers exceeded the threshold limit and should be considered as significant risks for onsite workers. (5) The results of the sensitivity analysis suggested that concentration (CC) and exposure duration (ED) were the two most sensitive parameters in both the CR and non-CR assessment. The above findings could be useful for improving existing health risk mitigation/management strategies for onsite workers in waste incineration plants.

Keywords: PCDD/Fs; Health Risk; Monte Carlo simulation; Sensitivity analysis; Fly ash.


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