Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Road Dust Collected from Myanmar, Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam

  • Ei Ei Mon
  • Nyunt Phay
  • Tetsuro Agusa
  • Leu Tho Bach
  • Hsin-Ming Yeh
  • Ching-Huei Huang
  • Haruhiko NakataEmail author


In this study, we determined the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in road dust from Myanmar, Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam. PAHs were detected in urban and rural areas of Myanmar at mean concentrations of 630 ng/g dry weight and 200 ng/g dry weight, respectively. PAHs were also detected in road dust from Vietnam (mean 1700 ng/g) and Taiwan (2400 ng/g). PAH diagnostic ratios suggested that fossil fuel vehicular exhaust and biomass combustion are major sources of PAHs in road dust in Myanmar. Road dust samples from Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam had similar PAH diagnostic ratios, implying that PAH sources are similar. We assessed the human health risks posed by PAHs in road dust using carcinogenic equivalents (CEQs) and incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR). Mean CEQs were decreased in the order Taiwan (173 ng/g) > Vietnam (162 ng/g for Hanoi) > Myanmar (42 and 31 ng/g for Yangon and Pathein, respectively) > Japan (30 ng/g for Kumamoto). Benz[a]pyrene, fluoranthene, and benzo[b]fluoranthene, the predominant PAHs, contributed > 70% of total CEQs. High ILCR values were found for Taiwan (5.9 × 10−4 and 9.9 × 10−4 for children and adults, respectively) and Vietnam (6.5 × 10−4 and 9.2 × 10−4 for children and adults, respectively, in Hanoi), indicating that PAHs in road dust pose cancer risks to the inhabitants of Taiwan and Hanoi. To our knowledge, this is the first report to identify PAH pollution in the environment and to evaluate the human health risks of these PAHs in Myanmar.



The authors thank the students and staff of Pathein University in Myanmar, the National University of Civil Engineering (NUCE) in Vietnam, the Fishery Research Institute in Taiwan, Prefectural University of Kumamoto, and Kumamoto University for help with sampling road dust and sediments. This study was supported by the Bilateral Open Partnership Joint Research Project, funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 106 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Advanced Science and TechnologyKumamoto UniversityKumamotoJapan
  2. 2.Pathein UniversityPatheinMyanmar
  3. 3.Graduate School of Environmental and Symbiotic SciencePrefectural University of KumamotoKumamotoJapan
  4. 4.Institute of Environmental Science and EngineeringNational University of Civil EngineeringHanoiVietnam
  5. 5.Fisheries Research InstituteKeelungTaiwan

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