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Atmosphere 2017, 8(3), 61; doi:10.3390/atmos8030061

Atmospheric Volatile Organic Compounds in a Typical Urban Area of Beijing: Pollution Characterization, Health Risk Assessment and Source Apportionment

1
Environmental Research Institute, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
3
Collaborative Innovation Center on Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
4
Laboratory of Atmospheric Physicochemistry, University of Opal Coast, Dunkerque 59140, France
5
College of Earth Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun 130061, China
6
Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 277-8564, Japan
7
Xingyi Environmental Protection Agency, Xingyi 562400, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kimitaka Kawamura
Received: 6 January 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Air Quality)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [30236 KB, uploaded 24 March 2017]   |  

Abstract

Atmospheric volatile organic compounds (VOCs) measurement was carried out using gas chromatography-flame ionization detector (GC-FID) technique (Airmo VOCs online analyzer) in a typical urban area in Beijing from April 2014 to January 2015. Ambient levels, variation characteristics and influential factors contributing to the formation of near-ground-ozone and secondary organic aerosols as well as health risk assessment of VOCs were analyzed. Based on these analyses, the important VOC species that should be given more attention for pollution control were identified and the source apportionment of VOCs was made. Suggestions for VOCs pollution control countermeasures were put forward. The annual average concentration of 84 VOCs was 119 μg·m−3 and the hourly mean concentration was 9.11–567 μg·m−3. Ambient level of VOCs in Beijing has been alleviated in recent years, but is still severe compared to some other cities. VOCs with the largest proportion were alkanes in spring and halogenated hydrocarbons in summer, autumn and winter. The variation of 84 VOCs concentrations was consistent with that of the ambient air quality index, indicating that VOCs had a strong influence on ambient air quality. Influenced by the concentration and activity of VOCs, the largest contribution to ozone formation potential and secondary organic aerosol formation potential came from alkenes and aromatic hydrocarbons, respectively. Five VOCs species such as benzene pose carcinogenic risk to exposed populations. Contrary to some previous studies, benzene was found to have potential cancer risk in some urban areas in China. The main sources of VOCs in the study area were vehicle exhaust, solvent usage, and industrial processes. In order to improve air quality in Beijing and reduce the infection rate of air pollutant related diseases, it is necessary to strengthen the control the emission of VOCs from those three sources. View Full-Text
Keywords: atmospheric VOCs; ambient levels; variations; ozone formation potential (OFP); secondary organic aerosol formation potential (SOAFP); risk assessment; source apportionment; Beijing atmospheric VOCs; ambient levels; variations; ozone formation potential (OFP); secondary organic aerosol formation potential (SOAFP); risk assessment; source apportionment; Beijing
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, H.; Li, H.; Zhang, Q.; Zhang, Y.; Zhang, W.; Wang, X.; Bi, F.; Chai, F.; Gao, J.; Meng, L.; Yang, T.; Chen, Y.; Cheng, Q.; Xia, F. Atmospheric Volatile Organic Compounds in a Typical Urban Area of Beijing: Pollution Characterization, Health Risk Assessment and Source Apportionment. Atmosphere 2017, 8, 61.

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