Ye Li1,2, Franz Muñoz-Ibañéz4, Ana Maldonado-Alcaíno4, Darby Jack5, Beizhan Yan2, Li Xu3, Marco Acuña6, Manuel Leiva-Guzman7, Ana Valdés8, Dante D. Cáceres This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.4,9 

1 Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science of the Ministry of Education, School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
2 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
3 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Falmouth, MA 02543, USA
4 Programa de Salud Ambiental, Escuela de Salud Pública, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, CP 8380463, Santiago, Chile
5 Environmental Health Sciences Department, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY 10032, USA
6 Secretaria Ministerial de Salud, Región de Aysén, Coyhaique, Carrera 290, Coyhaique, Chile
7 Departamento de Química, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Ñuñoa, Las Palmeras 3425, Santiago, Chile
8 Departamento de Tecnologías Nucleares, División de Investigación y Aplicaciones Nucleares, Comisión Chilena de Energía Nuclear, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile
9 Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica y Parinacota, Chile

Received: June 16, 2022
Revised: November 3, 2022
Accepted: November 7, 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.

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Li, Y., Muñoz-Ibañéz, F., Maldonado-Alcaíno, A., Jack, D., Yan, B., Xu, L., Acuña, M., Leiva-Guzman, M., Valdés, A., Cáceres, D.D. (2022). Cancer Burden Disease Attributable to PM2.5 and Health Risk by PM2.5-bound Toxic Species in Two Urban Chilean Municipalities. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 22, 220247.


  • PM2.5 daily concentration and its chemical composition were measured in two urban municipalities.
  • Cancer burden disease by PM2.5 exposure and health risk by PM2.5-bound chemicals were estimated.
  • Some cases of lung and cardiopulmonary cancer would be attributable to PM2.5 long-term exposure.
  • A high health risk was determined in Coyhaique for B[a]P and As and for As in Independencia.


This study aimed to estimate the environmental cancer disease burden in adults attributable to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure using Ostro's function methodology, and health risk indexes for particle-bound toxic chemicals through hazard quotients (HQ, HI) and carcinogenic risk (CR, CRI) indexes from EPA guidelines, of two urban Chilean Municipalities: Coyhaique and Independencia. Quantification of chemical species (OC, EC, metals, and PAHs) was done at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, USA. Modern carbon in OC and EC analysis showed that the principal source of PM2.5 emission in Coyhaique was firewood burning compared with Independencia. The total PAHs and B[a]P concentrations were 6.3 and 8.9 times higher in Coyhaique than in Independencia. In contrast, As and Pb levels were significantly greater in Independencia. The HI was 14.5 and 2.37 times the limit considered acceptable (HI > 1) in Coyhaique and Independencia, explained 92.45% by B[a]P and 66.99% by As, respectively. CRI exceeded the threshold (1 × 106) in Coyhaique and Independencia, explained by As (75.38%) plus B[a]P (20.30%) and As (97.01%). The attributable fraction (AF) of deaths due to lung cancer from long-term exposure to PM2.5 reached 54% (95% CI: 25–72) in Coyhaique vs. 43% (95% CI: 19–46) in Independencia. The AF for cardiopulmonary cancer were 40% (95% CI: 17–57) and 32% (95% CI: 12–46), respectively. A relevant fraction of the cancer cases and potential expected adverse effects would be attributable to long-term exposure to PM2.5 and the presence of chemical compounds bound to the particles. These results deserve further study to help guide policy in different environments, mainly carcinogenic PM2.5-bound toxic species from other emission sources, particularly firewood burning.

Keywords: PM2.5, Health risk assessment, Burden disease, Attributable fraction, Toxic metals, PAHs

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