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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112485

Carcinogenic Potency of Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Relation to the Particle Fraction Size

Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Ksaverska cesta 2, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 4 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
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Abstract

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are bound to particulate matter can have adverse effects on human health. Particle size plays an important role in assessing health risks. The aim of this study was to compare concentrations of PAHs bound to particle fractions PM10, PM2.5, and PM1, as well as to estimate their carcinogenic potency and relative contributions of the individual PAHs to the carcinogenic potency in relation to the size of the particle. Measurements of ten PAHs were carried out in 2014 at an urban location in the northern part of Zagreb, Croatia. 24-h samples of the PM10, PM2.5, and PM1 particle fraction were collected over forty days per season. Carcinogenic potency of PAHs was estimated by calculating benzo(a)pyrene equivalent concentrations while using three different toxic equivalence factor (TEF) schemes. The total carcinogenic potency (TCP) and percentage contributions differed significantly depending on the TEF scheme used. The lowest PAH mass concentrations and TCPs were in summer and the highest in winter. The contributions of individual PAHs to the sum of PAH mass concentrations remained similar in all fractions and seasons, while in fractions PM10–2.5 and PM2.5–1 they varied significantly. Road traffic represented the important source of PAHs in all fractions and throughout all seasons. Other sources (wood and biomass burning, petroleum combustion) were also present, especially during winter as a consequence of household heating. The highest contribution to the TCP came from benzo(a)pyrene, dibenzo(ah)antrachene, indeno(1,2,3,cd)pyrene, and benzo(b)fluoranthene (together between 87% and 96%) in all fractions and seasons. In all cases, BaP showed the highest contribution to the TCP regardless relatively low contributions to the mass of total PAHs and it can be considered as a good representative for assessing the carcinogenicity of the PAH mixture. When comparing the TCP of PAHs in PM10 and PM2.5 fractions, it was found that about 21–26% of carcinogenic potency of the PAH mixture belonged to the PM2.5 fraction. Comparison of TCP in PM2.5 and PM1 showed that about 86% of carcinogenic potency belonged to the PM1 fraction, regardless of the TEF scheme used. View Full-Text
Keywords: BaP toxic equivalency factors; particle fractions PM10, PM2.5 and PM1; seasonal variations; urban location; public health BaP toxic equivalency factors; particle fractions PM10, PM2.5 and PM1; seasonal variations; urban location; public health
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Pehnec, G.; Jakovljević, I. Carcinogenic Potency of Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Relation to the Particle Fraction Size. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2485.

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