Abstract Title:

Abundance and sources of benzo[a]pyrene and other PAHs in ambient air in Hong Kong: A review of 20-year measurements (1997-2016).

Abstract Source:

Chemosphere. 2020 Jul 5 ;259:127518. Epub 2020 Jul 5. PMID: 32650173

Abstract Author(s):

Kezheng Liao, Jian Zhen Yu

Article Affiliation:

Kezheng Liao


The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) family is of environmental concern due to its toxicity, prompting the need of monitoring their long-term trends. Three monitoring programs in Hong Kong report concentrations of ambient PAHs, namely (1) respirable suspending particle (RSP) speciation program that monitored benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) (1997 to March 2000), (2) total suspended particle speciation program that monitored BaP (1997-1999), and (3) toxic air pollutant monitoring program that monitors BaP and 16 other PAHs in the combined gas and particulate phases at two general urban stations once or twice a month since January 1998. In this work, we review all the available PAH measurements in Hong Kong during 1997-2016, with emphasis on the temporal trends of BaP and the other 16 PAHs. PAHs of 5-6 rings exhibit an ambiguous decline trend since 1998, with a negative Sen's slope that is statistically significant. Specifically, BaP was reduced by 78% from 1998 to 2016, with a Sen's slope of -0.013 ng myear. Correlations of BaP with RSP major species of high source specificity and PAH diagnostic ratios are employed to explore the source origins of PAHs. Our analysis reveals that PAHs mainly come from a combination of vehicular emissions and biomass/coal combustion. The decline trend of PAHs is further found in consistence with the declined particulate matter emissions from vehicular exhaust and biomass/coal combustion. This study fills the data vacancy in the long-term trends of ambient PAHs for the Pearl River Delta region, one of the economically more advanced regions in China.

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