Janvier Munyaneza1,2, Md Faysal Hossain1,2,4, Qilong Jia1,2, Yusen Duan3, Guangli Xiu This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1,2

1 Shanghai Environmental Protection Key Laboratory for Environmental Standard and Risk Management of Chemical Pollutants, School of Resources & Environmental Engineering, East China University of Science & Technology, Shanghai 200237, China
2 State Environmental Protection Key Lab of Environmental Risk Assessment and Control on Chemical Processes, School of Resources & Environmental Engineering, East China University of Science & Technology, Shanghai 200237, China
Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Centre, Shanghai 200235, China
Department of Science and Environmental Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong, Tai Po, New Territories, 999077, Hong Kong, China

Received: December 31, 2022
Revised: June 30, 2023
Accepted: July 29, 2023

 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.220465  

Cite this article:

Munyaneza, J., Hossain, M.F., Jia, Q., Duan, Y., Xiu, G. (2023). Space-time Characteristics of 16 PM2.5-bound Phthalates (PAEs) in Ambient Air from Shanghai: Profiles, Sources, Meteorological Effects, and Exposure Risks. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 23, 220465. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.220465


  • Airborne DBP and DIBP were found to have the same source.
  • Temperature was solely correlated with PAE loads.
  • Toddlers were more subjected to the risks from inhaling PAEs.
  • Site locations did not exhibit significant effects on loads of PAEs.
  • Non-simultaneous sample collection affected the trends of PAE loads.


Generated by chemical combinations between alcohols and phthalic anhydrites, phthalates are a group of synthetic chemicals broadly utilized as plasticizers. They occur in both particle and gas phases in the air causing threats to human health. In the study in hands, LC-MS/MS was employed for the analysis of PM2.5-PAEs in 128 ambient PM2.5 samples from nine locations (urban, sub-urban and coastal) in Shanghai between February 2015 and September 2021. Six PAE congeners, namely di-n-butylphthalate (DBP), dimethylphthalate (DMP), diisononylphthalate (DINP), di-2-ethylphthalate (DEP), diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP) and di (2-propylheptyl) phthalate (DPHP), which are grouped as (∑6PAEs) were the most profuse species (with detection frequency (DF) ranging from 44.5% to 85.9%), with concentrations ranging between 26.85 (DEP) to 1840 ng m–3 (DIBP). Two congeners (DBP and DIBP) contributed significantly (79.4%) to the overall concentration of PAEs in the campaign, and exhibited a strong positive correlation (Spearman: r = 0.876, p < 0.05). Densely populated sites and those situated in periphery of manufacturing areas seemed to exhibit higher mean concentrations of ∑6PAEs. Daily mean and median concentrations comprising all the species (∑16PAEs) were generally higher in samples collected during colder periods (38.3 and 37.5 ng m–3, respectively) rather than within samples gathered in warmer periods (31 and 26.9 ng m3, respectively), though there wasn't a statistically significant difference between mean concentrations for both periods (ANOVA: p > 0.05, F stat. < F critical). Statistically significant correlations were found between temperature and concentrations of both DBP and ∑16PAEs (p < 0.05, r = 0.34 and 0.35, respectively). Among population groups, an elevated daily intake (EDI) ranging from 1.04 to 27.95 ng kgBWt–1 day1 was found for toddlers, with the highest estimated hazard index of 1.5 × 10–2.

Keywords: Seasonal profiles, Health risk assessment, PM2.5-associated PAEs, Temporal variations, Source identification

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