Size-resolved exposure risk of persistent free radicals (PFRs) in atmospheric aerosols and their potential sources

Chen, Qingcai; Sun, Haoyao; Song, Wenhuai; Cao, Fang; Tian, Chongguo; Zhang, Yan-Lin

Environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) are a new type of substance with potential health risks. EPFRs are widely present in atmospheric particulates, but there is a limited understanding of the size-resolved health risks of these radicals. This study reports the exposure risks and source of EPFRs in atmospheric particulate matter (PM) of different particle sizes (inline-formula<10inline-formulaµm) in Linfen, a typical coal-burning city in China. The type of EPFRs in fine particles (inline-formula< 2.1 inline-formulaµm) is different from that in coarse particles (2.1–10 inline-formulaµm) in both winter and summer. However, the EPFR concentration is higher in coarse particles than in fine particles in summer, and the opposite trend is found in winter. In both seasons, combustion sources are the main sources of EPFRs, with coal combustion as the major contributor in winter, while other fuels are the major source in summer. Dust contributes part of the EPFRs, and it is mainly present in coarse particles in winter and the opposite in summer. The upper respiratory tract was found to be the area with the highest risk of exposure to EPFRs of the studied aerosols, with an exposure equivalent to that of approximately 21 cigarettes per person per day. Alveolar exposure to EPFRs is equivalent to 8 cigarettes per person per day, with combustion sources contributing the most to EPFRs in the alveoli. This study helps us to better understand the potential health risks of atmospheric PM with different particle sizes.

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Chen, Qingcai / Sun, Haoyao / Song, Wenhuai / et al: Size-resolved exposure risk of persistent free radicals (PFRs) in atmospheric aerosols and their potential sources. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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