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Meteorological dependence, source identification, and carcinogenic risk assessment of PM2.5-bound Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in high-traffic roadside, urban background, and remote suburban area

Abstract

The Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) bound to ambient fine Particular Matter (PM2.5) are currently drawing a lot of attention due to their adverse health effects increasing lung cancer risk in humans. In this study, The PM2.5 samples were collected by high volume air samplers simultaneously from three different sites (high-traffic roadside, urban background, and remote suburban) in Tehran, Iran during warm and cold seasons (from July 2018 to March 2019), and 16 PAHs were analyzed using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC–MS). Unlike previous studies, a remote suburban area was chosen so as to observe the spatial differentiation in PM2.5-bound PAH characteristics. In high-traffic roadside site, the average concentration of total PM2.5-bound PAHs (ƩPAHs) was 3.7 times the concentration value in remote suburban area. Average (ƩPAHs) ranged from 5.54 ng/m3 for remote suburban area to 20.67 ng/m3 for high-traffic roadside site. In all sites, seasonal trends of PAH concentrations elucidated high concentrations in the cold season and low concentrations in the warm season. Correlation analysis between ƩPAHs and atmospheric factors (meteorology parameters and criteria air pollutants) indicated the heterogeneous processes play an important role in the level of PAHs. The results of diagnostic ratio (DR) analysis disclosed that the dominant source of PM2.5-bound PAHs was the combustion of liquid fossil fuels. Despite the fact that incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) via inhaling PM2.5-bound PAHs varied significantly in high-traffic roadside site and remote suburban site, its value was beyond the acceptable risk level in both sites. Our results suggested that effective regulations are needed to monitor PAHs concentrations and reduce PAHs emissions from liquid fossil fuel combustion so as to mitigate the potential carcinogenic risk of PAHs in ambient air.

Highlights

• PAHs of PM2.5 was studied at roadside, urban background, and remote suburban sites.

• Correlations of ƩPAHs with meteorological parameters were investigated.

• Total PAHs in cold season was three times that of warm season at three sites.

• The combustion of liquid fossil fuels was dominant source of PAHs emission.

• ILCR values of PAHs in both urban sites exceeded serious risk levels.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Iran National Science Foundation (No.97009561), and school of Environment, University of Tehran, Iran as a PhD Thesis. The authors would like to acknowledge the Department of Environment for supplying the high-volume air samplers. We would also like to thank Sara Gerani and Payam Shiva for their valuable contributions to the laboratory sample preparation, language editing and proofreading.

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Shams Solari, M., Ashrafi, K., Pardakhti, A. et al. Meteorological dependence, source identification, and carcinogenic risk assessment of PM2.5-bound Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in high-traffic roadside, urban background, and remote suburban area. J Environ Health Sci Engineer (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40201-022-00821-2

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Keywords

  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Source identification
  • PM2.5
  • Health risk assessment