Atmospheric PM2.5-Bound Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Guiyang City, Southwest China: Concentration, Seasonal Variation, Sources and Health Risk Assessment

  • Xuelu Fan
  • Zhuo ChenEmail author
  • Longchao Liang
  • Guangle QiuEmail author


The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) bound to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) can cause long-term adverse health consequences and are a public concern. A total of 144 PM2.5-bound PAHs samples collected from Guiyang City, a typical plateau montane area in southwest China, from September 2012 to August 2013 were investigated to clarify their concentration, distribution, and potential sources. The health exposure risk also was evaluated. The samplers equipped with 90-mm glass fibre filters were operated at a flow rate of 100 L min−1 for 24 h. The concentrations of the 16 PAHs (US EPA priority) were analysed by using ultra performance liquid chromatography equipped with photo diode array detector. Diagnostic ratios and back-trajectories were performed for the 16 PAHs sources apportionment. The results showed that the 16 PAHs ranged from 2.9 to 231 ng m−3 with an annual average of 41 ± 21 ng m−3. The PAHs concentrations exhibited obvious seasonal variation, with higher levels in winter than in summer. Diagnostic ratios indicated that PAHs mainly originated from the combustion of coal and biomass, followed by the emission of vehicle exhaust. Cluster analyses on back-trajectories illustrated that approximately 34% of the air mass came from abroad, as far as Laos and Vietnam, in summer, whereas more than 90% of the air mass came from domestic sources in winter. The lifetime excess cancer risk from exposure to PAHs was 3.63 × 10−4, approximately 360 times higher than the health guideline (10−6) recommended by the US EPA, reflecting a high risk of cancer.



Financial support for this work was provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC: 21767007) and the Technology Program of Guizhou (QianKeHe[2018]1111). The authors gratefully acknowledge assistants from all persons involved in the project.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 32 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemistry and Materials ScienceGuizhou Normal UniversityGuiyangChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina
  3. 3.College of Resource and Environmental EngineeringGuizhou UniversityGuiyangChina

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