Zhiyong Li This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1,2, Ziyuan Yue1, Jixiang Liu1, Zhen Zhai1, Jianwei Meng3,4, Lei Wang This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.3,4, Jihong Wei5, Dingyuan Yang1, Ailian Hu1, Wenjia Zhu1, Ning Ding1, Xiaoxia Lu1, Chunhao Lin1

1 Hebei Key Lab of Power Plant Flue Gas Multi-Pollutants Control, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, North China Electric Power University, Baoding 071003, China
2 MOE Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Systems Optimization, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, North China Electric Power University, Beijing 102206, China
3 Hebei Research Center for Geoanalysis, Baoding 071003, China
4 Hebei Key Laboratory of Mineral Resources and Ecological Environment Monitoring, Baoding 071003, China
5 Department of Pediatrics, Affiliated Hospital of Hebei University, Baoding 071000, China

Received: April 3, 2022
Revised: May 25, 2022
Accepted: June 12, 2022

 Copyright The Author(s). 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.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.220162  

Cite this article:

Li, Z., Yue, Z., Liu, J., Zhai, Z., Meng, J., Wang, L., Wei, J., Yang, D., Hu, A., Zhu, W., Ding, N., Lu, X., Lin, C. (2022). Sources and Health Risks of PM2.5-bound PAHs in a Small City along with the “Clean Heating” Policy. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 22, 220162. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.220162


  • PM2.5, PAHs and health risks increased in the heating season (HS).
  • MMW-PAHs increased most in the HS due to enhanced coal/biomass usage.
  • Total PAHs were lower compared with other cities before Clean Heating.
  • Biomass/natural gas burning was a biggest PAH contributor in the HS.
  • Coal combustion contribution increased and vehicle exhaust decreased.


Levels, composition, and sources of PM2.5-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) vary significantly along with the “Clean Heating” (CH) policy in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region, whereas the PAH characteristics with CH in small cities still remain unclear. A field observation was conducted in Baoding City, a small city within the BTH region, in winter of 2019 covering both the pre-heating season (PHS) and the heating season (HS). From the PHS to the HS, the mean concentrations for both PM2.5 and ∑18PAHs increased from 69.1 to 125.0 µg m3 and from 8.09 to 26.2 ng m3 due to the heating activities. The far lower PAHs in this study than those of small cities before CH implementation indicated the CH effectiveness. Higher diagnostic ratios (DRs) of FA/(FA + PY), BaA/(BaA + CHR), and IP/(IP + BgP) in the HS were in agreement with the increased coal/biomass usage. Positive matrix factorization (PMF) demonstrated that biomass/natural-gas burning (BNGB) contributed most to PAHs of 36.9% in the HS, the increased natural gas (NG) usage for heating should be responsible for this contribution due to the policies of biomass-burning prohibition and “Coal to Gas”. Coal combustion (CC) shares increased by 152% in the HS despite the “Coal Banning” project. Again, the medium-molecular-weight PAHs (MMW-PAHs) increased most by 400% in the HS, evidencing the increased impacts of fossil-fuel consumptions. As an indicator for carcinogenic risk, BaP increased from 0.937 in the PHS to 1.29 ng m3 in the HS. Furthermore, the incremental lifetime cancer risks (ILCR) and BaP equivalent concentrations (BaPeq) increased in the HS. The mean ILCR values of 1.15 × 106 for adults in the HS exceeded the threshold of 1 × 106, while they were lower than 1 × 106 for children in both the PHS and the HS, and adults in the PHS due to the CH positive effects.

Keywords: PM2.5, PAHs, Source apportionment, Clean heating, Health risk assessment

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