Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 5340–5349 | Cite as

Ambient air levels and health risk assessment of benzo(a)pyrene in atmospheric particulate matter samples from low-polluted areas: application of an optimized microwave extraction and HPLC-FL methodology

  • María de la Gala MoralesEmail author
  • Fernando Rueda Holgado
  • Mª Rosario Palomo Marín
  • Lorenzo Calvo Blázquez
  • Eduardo Pinilla Gil
Research Article


A new methodology involving a simple and fast pretreatment of the samples by microwave-assisted extraction and concentration by N2 stream, followed by HPLC with fluorescence detection, was used for determining the concentration of benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) in atmospheric particulate matter (PM10 fraction). Obtained LOD, 1.0 × 10−3 ng/m3, was adequate for the analysis of benzo(a)pyrene in the samples, and BaP recovery from PAH in Fine Dust (PM10-like) certified reference material was nearly quantitative (86 %). The validated procedure was applied for analyzing 115 PM10 samples collected at different sampling locations in the low-polluted area of Extremadura (Southwest Spain) during a monitoring campaign carried out in 2011–2012. BaP spatial variations and seasonal variability were investigated as well as the influence of meteorological conditions and different air pollutants concentrations. A normalized protocol for health risk assessment was applied to estimate lifetime cancer risk due to BaP inhalation in the sampling areas, finding that around eight inhabitants per million people may develop lung cancer due to the exposition to BaP in atmospheric particulates emitted by the investigated sources.


Benzo(a)pyrene Particulate matter Microwave extraction HPLC-FL Seasonal variation Risk assessment 



We acknowledge the air quality surveillance network of Extremadura, Spain (Gobierno de Extremadura, Consejería de Agricultura, Desarrollo Rural, Medio Ambiente y Energía) for financial support and for providing the PM10 samples. This work was also supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (project CTQ2011-25388), and Junta de Extremadura, Spain (GR10091).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • María de la Gala Morales
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fernando Rueda Holgado
    • 1
  • Mª Rosario Palomo Marín
    • 1
  • Lorenzo Calvo Blázquez
    • 1
  • Eduardo Pinilla Gil
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Analytical ChemistryUniversity of ExtremaduraBadajozSpain

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