Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 79–87 | Cite as

Health risk of aerosols and toxic metals from incense and joss paper burning

  • Hsin Ta Hsueh
  • Tzu Hsing Ko
  • Wen Chieh Chou
  • Wen Chi Hung
  • Hsin ChuEmail author
Original Paper


We report for the first time the distribution and hazard potential of aerosol and metals resulting from joss paper burning. Burning joss paper and incense is a traditional custom in many Oriental countries. Large amounts of air pollutants, including particles, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, toxic metals and other gaseous pollutants, are released into the environment during the burning stage. Many investigations have reported on the emission of pollutants from the incense burning. However, no work has been reported until now on the analysis of the released pollutants apart from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In this study, a micro-orifice uniform-deposit impactor and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry were, respectively, used to collect aerosols and characterize the toxic metals from joss paper burning. We studied two types of particulate matter (PM): PM2.5 that are particles with a diameter smaller than 2.5 μm and PM10 that are particles with a diameter smaller than 10 μm. PM2.5 are the most potentially toxic particles. Our results showed that PM2.5 are the major component of the pollutants and that the PM2.5 to PM10 ratio ranged from 62 to 99%. The metals Na, Ca, Mg, Al and K were the main species in the aerosol and in the bottom ash.


Joss paper Aerosol Toxic element PM2.5 Hazard potential 



We gratefully acknowledge the National Science Council, Republic of China, for the financial support (NSC-95-EPA-Z-006-02) and Prof. W. J. Lee for providing the instrument (MOUDI).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hsin Ta Hsueh
    • 1
  • Tzu Hsing Ko
    • 2
  • Wen Chieh Chou
    • 1
  • Wen Chi Hung
    • 1
  • Hsin Chu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Environment Research CenterNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Hospitality and Tourism ManagementKao Fong College of Digital ContentsChang-JiTaiwan

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