Huimeng Jiang1, Han Xiao1, He Song1, Jian Liu1, Tao Wang2, Hairong Cheng This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Zuwu Wang This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1

1 School of Resource and Environmental Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
2 Xiangyang Environment Protection Monitoring Station, Xiangyang 441021, China


Received: February 20, 2020
Revised: June 1, 2020
Accepted: June 2, 2020

 Copyright The Author's institutions. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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Jiang, H., Xiao, H., Song, H., Liu, J., Wang, T., Cheng, H. and Wang, Z. (2020). A Long-lasting Winter Haze Episode in Xiangyang, Central China: Pollution Characteristics, Chemical Composition, and Health Risk Assessment. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20: 2859–2873.


  • PM2.5 pollution characteristics were reported for a winter haze episode in Xiangyang, China.
  • POC dominated OC during mild and moderate pollution; SOC dominated OC during severe pollution.
  • The EF and Igeo for PM2.5-bound metal(loid)s were strongly positively correlated.
  • The health risks for metal(loid)s were driven by its concentrations, not by pollution levels.


This study investigated the characteristics and chemical composition of PM2.5 during a long-lasting winter haze episode (Jan. 13–24, 2018) in Xiangyang of central China. The average daily concentration of the PM2.5 equaled 169.29 ± 56.98 µg m–3, with water-soluble inorganic ions (WSIIs), organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), and trace elements accounting for 111.45 ± 44.62, 20.74 ± 6.79, 6.48 ± 1.79, and 10.53 ± 3.84 µg m–3, respectively. The OC/EC ratios indicated mixed contributions from intensive traffic emission and secondary formation, and the estimated concentrations for the primary organic carbon (POC) and the secondary organic carbon (SOC) increased with the level of pollution. POC dominated the OC during mild and moderate pollution, whereas SOC dominated it during severe pollution. A strong positive correlation was found between the enrichment factor (EF) and geo-accumulation index (IGeo) values, which were used to assess the contamination level of PM2.5-bound metal(loid)s. A health risk assessment, which was conducted to examine the non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks of the PM2.5-bound metal(loid)s, found that As, Cr, Pb, and Sb posed potential non-carcinogenic risks to both children and adults and that two of these elements, As and Pb, also posed potential carcinogenic risks. The total non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks from the PM2.5-bound metal(loid)s were slightly higher for adults (3.07 × 103 and 3.78 × 10–3) than children (2.71 × 103 and 2.99 × 10–3) and depended on the concentrations of the metal(loid)s rather than the level of pollution. Thus, the public and the government should implement appropriate measures to mitigate the health risks posed by PM2.5-bound metal(loid)s during winter haze episodes in Xiangyang.

Keywords: PM2.5; Haze episode; Metal(loid)s; Winter; Health risk assessment.

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20 :2859 -2873 .  

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