Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 4190–4200 | Cite as

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Chinese surface soil: occurrence and distribution

  • Wan-Li Ma
  • Li-Yan Liu
  • Chong-Guo Tian
  • Hong Qi
  • Hong-Liang Jia
  • Wei-Wei Song
  • Yi-Fan LiEmail author
Research Article


In this study, 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were analyzed in 157 concurrently collected soil samples in 2005 over China. Higher concentration of ∑16PAHs was found in urban soil, followed by rural and background soil. The results indicated that PAHs in Chinese surface soil showed a primary distribution pattern, which was confirmed by the positive correlation with emission inventory. Based on the results of literature over the past 10 years (2004–2013) in China, the spatial distribution of PAHs in urban and rural soil was established. An obvious geographical distribution with PAH concentration was found, as higher in Eastern China and lower in Middle and Western China. Furthermore, PAH pollution in Chinese riverbank soil was summarized and showed higher levels, indicating their potential sources from polluted rivers. According to our knowledge, this is the first time to comprehensively study the PAH pollution status in Chinese surface soil on the national scale based on monitoring results.


PAHs Surface soil Occurrence Geographical distribution Monitoring Over China 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41101493, 41101495, and 21277038). Financial supports from the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Funded Project (No. 2011M500677) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. HIT. NSRIF. 2014095) are highly appreciated. We are grateful to volunteers for helping with soil sampling nationwide in China, especially the teachers and students at the Harbin Institute of Technology, Dalian Maritime University, Chengdu University of Technology, and Northeast Forestry University.

Supplementary material

11356_2014_3648_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (126 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 125 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wan-Li Ma
    • 1
  • Li-Yan Liu
    • 1
  • Chong-Guo Tian
    • 2
  • Hong Qi
    • 1
  • Hong-Liang Jia
    • 3
  • Wei-Wei Song
    • 1
  • Yi-Fan Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.International Joint Research Center for Persistent Toxic Substances (IJRC-PTS), State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, School of Municipal and Environmental EngineeringHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Environmental ProcessesYantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research (YIC), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Environmental Processes, YICCASYantaiChina
  3. 3.IJRC-PTSDalian Maritime UniversityDalianChina

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