Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-393
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-393

  12 May 2021

12 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Annual exposure to PAHs in urban environments linked to wintertime wood-burning episodes

Irini Tsiodra1,2, Georgios Grivas3, Kalliopi Tavernaraki1, Aikaterini Bougiatioti3, Maria Apostolaki1, Despina Paraskevopoulou3,2, Alexandra Gogou5, Constantine Parinos5, Konstantina Oikonomou6, Maria Tsagkaraki1, Pavlos Zarmpas1, Athanasios Nenes2,4, and Nikolaos Mihalopoulos1,3 Irini Tsiodra et al.
  • 1Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, Heraklion,71003, Greece
  • 2Center for the Study of Air Quality and Climate Change, Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Patras, GR-26504, Greece
  • 3Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, Lofos Koufou, P. Penteli, Athens, 15236, Greece
  • 4Laboratory of Atmospheric Processes and their Impacts, School of Architecture, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, CH-1015, Switzerland
  • 5Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography, 190 13 Anavyssos, Attiki, Greece
  • 6CARE-C Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia 2121, Cyprus

Abstract. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are organic pollutants in fine particulate matter (PM) long known to have mutagenic and carcinogenic effects, but much is unknown about the importance of local and remote sources to PAH levels observed in population-dense urban environments. A year-long sampling campaign in Athens, Greece, where more than 150 samples were analyzed for 31 PAHs and a wide range of chemical markers were used in combination with Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) to constrain the temporal variability, sources and carcinogenic risk associated with PAHs. We find that biomass burning (BB), a source mostly effective during wintertime intense pollution events (observed for 18 % of measurement days in 2017), lead to wintertime PAH levels 7 times higher than in other seasons and was responsible for annual mean PAH concentrations (31 %) comparable to those from diesel/oil (33 %) and gasoline (29 %) sources. The contribution of non-local sources, although limited on an annual basis (7 %), was increased during summer, becoming comparable to that of local sources combined. The fraction of PAHs associated with BB is linked to increased health risk compared to the other sources, accounting for almost half the annual carcinogenic potential of PAHs (43 %). This can result in a larger number of excess cancer cases due to BB-related high PM levels and urges immediate action to reduce residential BB emissions in urban areas facing similar issues.

Irini Tsiodra et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-393', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 May 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Athanasios Nenes, 03 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-393', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Jun 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Athanasios Nenes, 03 Aug 2021

Irini Tsiodra et al.

Irini Tsiodra et al.

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Short summary
We analyze observations from year-long measurements at Athens, Greece. Nighttime wintertime PAH levels are four times higher than daytime, and wintertime values are 15 times higher than summertime. Biomass burning aerosol during wintertime pollution events is responsible for these significant wintertime enhancements, and accounts for 43 % of the population exposure to PAH carcinogenic risk. Biomass burning poses additional health risks beyond those associated with high PM levels that develop.
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