Airborne particles are composed of inorganic species and organic compounds. PM particles, with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 1 μm, are considered to be important in the context of adverse health effects. Many compounds bound to particulate matter, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), are suspected to be genotoxic, mutagenic, and carcinogenic. In this study, PAHs in the PM particle fraction were measured for one year (1/1/2018-31/12/2018). The measuring station was located in the northern residential part of Zagreb, the Croatian capital, close to a street with modest traffic. Significant differences were found between PAH concentrations during cold (January-March, October-December) and warm (April-September) periods of the year. In general, the mass concentrations of PAHs characteristic for car exhausts (benzo(ghi)perylene (BghiP), indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene (IP), and benzo(b)fluoranthene (BbF)) were higher during the whole year than concentrations of fluoranthene (Flu) and pyrene (Pyr), which originated mostly from domestic heating and biomass burning. Combustion of diesel and gasoline from vehicles was found to be one of the main PAH sources. The incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) was estimated for three age groups of populations and the results were much lower than the acceptable risk level (1 × 10). However, more than ten times higher PAH concentrations in the cold part of the year, as well as associated health risk, emphasize the need for monitoring of PAHs in PM. These data represent a valuable tool in future plans and actions to control PAH sources and to improve the quality of life of urban populations.

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PubMed