Identifying the Pollution Characteristics of Atmospheric Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Associated with Functional Districts in Ningbo, China

  • Lei Tong
  • Cheng-Hui Peng
  • Zhong-Wen Huang
  • Jing-Jing Zhang
  • Xiao-Rong Dai
  • Hang XiaoEmail author
  • Neng-Bin Xu
  • Jun He


Duplicate polyurethane foam based passive air samplers (PUF-PAS) were deployed at seven sites in Ningbo from November 1, 2014 to October 31, 2015 and were used to analyze 15 priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Higher benzo[a]pyrene toxic equivalent concentrations were observed in the industrial areas during wintertime. Correspondence analysis (CA) was used to characterize the PAH congener profiles associated with each functional district and their temporal variations. It showed that different PAH composition profiles and seasonal variations were observed in mountain, rural area and residential areas; and different industrial layouts also led to different properties of PAH congener emissions. Higher levels of PAHs were observed around oil refinery in summer and at mountainous areas in winter, which might be attributed to the evaporation of petroleum and the impact of local biomass burning. This study also demonstrated that the factors influencing the representativeness of a site could be more clearly understood using PUF-PAS and CA analysis.


PAHs Functional districts Pollution characteristics 



This work was supported by the Crossing-Group Project of the Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health of IUECAS (Grant No. KLUEH-C-201803).

Supplementary material

128_2018_2535_MOESM1_ESM.docx (63 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 62 KB)


  1. Chaemfa C, Wild E, Davison B, Barber JL, Jones KC (2009) A study of aerosol entrapment and the influence of wind speed, chamber design and foam density on polyurethane foam passive air samplers used for persistent organic pollutants. J Environ Monit 11:1135–1139. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dat ND, Chang MB (2017) Review on characteristics of PAHs in atmosphere, anthropogenic sources and control technologies. Sci Total Environ 609:682–693. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fu X, Wang S, Zhao B et al (2013) Emission inventory of primary pollutants and chemical speciation in 2010 for the Yangtze River Delta region, China. Atmos Environ 70(70):39–50. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Harner T, Su K, Genualdi S et al (2013) Calibration and application of PUF disk passive air samplers for tracking polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Atmos Environ 75:123–128. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Harrison RM, Smith DJT, Luhana L (1996) Source apportionment of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons collected from an urban location in Birmingham, U.K. Environ Sci Technol 30:825–832. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. He J, Balasubramanian R (2010) A comparative evaluation of passive and active samplers for measurements of gaseous semi-volatile organic compounds in the tropical atmosphere. Atmos Environ 44:884–891. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hong WJ, Jia H, Ma WLet al (2016) Distribution, fate, inhalation exposure and lung cancer risk of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in some Asian countries. Environ Sci Technol 50:7163–7174. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kim KH, Jahan SA, Kabir E, Brown RJ (2013) A review of airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their human health effects. Environ Int 60:71–80. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Larsen RK, Baker JE (2003) Source apportionment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the urban atmosphere: a comparison of three methods. Environ Sci Technol 37:1873–1881. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Li XX, Kong SF, Yin Y et al (2016) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in atmospheric PM2.5 around 2013 Asian Youth Games period in Nanjing. Atmos Res 174:85–96. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lin Y, Qiu X, Ma Y, Ma J, Zheng M, Shao M (2015) Concentrations and spatial distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrated PAHs (NPAHs) in the atmosphere of North China, and the transformation from PAHs to NPAHs. Environ Pollut 196:164–170. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Liu D, Xu Y, Chaemfa C et al (2014) Concentrations, seasonal variations, and outflow of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at Ningbo site, Eastern China. Atmos Pollut Res 5:203–209. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mishra N, Ayoko GA, Morawska L (2016) Atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the urban environment: occurrence, toxicity and source apportionment. Environ Pollut 208:110–117. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Motelay-Massei A, Harner T, Shoeib M, Diamond M, Stern G, Rosenberg B (2005) Using passive air samplers to assess urban–rural trends for persistent organic pollutants and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. 2. Seasonal trends for PAHs, PCBs, and organochlorine pesticides. Environ Sci Technol 39:5763–5773. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Nisbet IC, LaGoy PK (1992) Toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Regul Toxicol Pharmacol RTP 16:290–300. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Odabasi M, Cetina E, Sofuoglu A (2006) Determination of octanol–air partition coefficients and supercooled liquid vapor pressures of PAHs as a function of temperature: application to gas–particle partitioning in an urban atmosphere. Atmos Environ 40:6615–6625. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pozo K, Harner T, Lee SC, Wania F, Muir DC, Jones KC (2009) Seasonally resolved concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in the global atmosphere from the first year of the GAPS study. Environ Sci Technol 43:796–803. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pozo K, Estellano VH, Harner T et al (2015) Assessing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) using passive air sampling in the atmosphere of one of the most wood-smoke-polluted cities in Chile: the case study of Temuco. Chemosphere 134:475–481. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rogge WF, Hildemann LM, Mazurek MA, Cass GR, Simoneit BRT (1998) Sources of fine organic aerosol. 9. Pine, oak and synthetic log combustion in residential fireplaces. Environ Sci Technol 32:13–22. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Shen H, Huang Y, Wang R et al (2013) Global atmospheric emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from 1960 to 2008 and future predictions. Environ Sci Technol 47:6415–6424. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wang XT, Chen L, Wang XK et al (2015) Occurrence, profiles, and ecological risks of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in river sediments of Shanghai, China. Chemosphere 133:22–30. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Xia Z, Duan X, Tao S et al (2013) Pollution level, inhalation exposure and lung cancer risk of ambient atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Taiyuan, China. Environ Pollut 173:150–156. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Xu JS, Xu HH, Xiao H et al (2016) Aerosol composition and sources during high and low pollution periods in Ningbo, China. Atmos Res 178:559–569. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Zhang L, Yang W, Dong L et al (2013) PUF passive air sampling of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in atmosphere of the Yangtze River Delta, China: spatio-temporal distribution and potential sources. Environ Sci 34:3339–3346 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  25. Zhang Y, Lin Y, Cai J et al (2016) Atmospheric PAHs in North China: spatial distribution and sources. Sci Total Environ 565:994–1000. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Lab of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina
  2. 2.Key Lab of Urban Environmental Processes and Pollution Control, Ningbo Urban Environment Observation and Research Station-NUEORSChinese Academy of SciencesNingboChina
  3. 3.3Environment Monitoring Center of NingboNingboChina
  4. 4.University of Nottingham Ningbo ChinaNingboChina

Personalised recommendations