Evaluation of the impact of wood combustion on benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) concentrations; ambient measurements and dispersion modeling in Helsinki, Finland
Abstract. Even though emission inventories indicate that wood combustion is a major source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), estimating its impacts on PAH concentration in ambient air remains challenging. In this study the effect of local small-scale wood combustion on the benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) concentrations in ambient air in the Helsinki metropolitan area in Finland is evaluated, using ambient air measurements, emission estimates, and dispersion modeling. The measurements were conducted at 12 different locations during the period from 2007 to 2015. The spatial distributions of annual average BaP concentrations originating from wood combustion were predicted for four of those years: 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2014. According to both the measurements and the dispersion modeling, the European Union target value for the annual average BaP concentrations (1 ng m−3) was clearly exceeded in certain suburban detached-house areas. However, in most of the other urban areas, including the center of Helsinki, the concentrations were below the target value. The measured BaP concentrations highly correlated with the measured levoglucosan concentrations in the suburban detached-house areas. In street canyons, the measured concentrations of BaP were at the same level as those in the urban background, clearly lower than those in suburban detached-house areas. The predicted annual average concentrations matched with the measured concentrations fairly well. Both the measurements and the modeling clearly indicated that wood combustion was the main local source of ambient air BaP in the Helsinki metropolitan area.