Recent occurrence of PAHs and n-Alkanes in pm2.5 in Seoul, Korea and characteristics of their sources and toxicity

Minkyung Kang, Kiae Kim, Narae Choi, Yong Pyo Kim, Ji Yi Lee

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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and n‐alkanes in particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less (PM2.5) were quantified at Seoul, Korea in 2018. The seasonal differences in the total concentration of PAHs and n‐Alkanes were clear, where winter showed a higher concentration than that of summer. Compared to the PAHs measurements in 2002 at Seoul, the sum of PAHs concentrations in 2018 were reduced from 26.6 to 5.6 ng m−3. Major sources of the observed PAHs and n‐alkanes were deduced from various indicators such as diagnostic ratios for PAHs and Cmax, CPI, and WNA (%) indices for n‐alkanes. It was found that in winter coal and biomass combustions, and vehicular exhaust were major sources, while, in summer vehicular exhaust was major source. In addition, in winter, major emission sources were located outside of Seoul. The health effect from the recent level of PAHs was estimated and compared to the previous studies observed in Seoul, and it was found that, recently, the toxicity of PAHs in PM2.5 was significantly decreased, except for in the winter.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1397
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This research was supported by the National Strategic Project‐Fine Particle of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), the Ministry of Environment (ME), and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) (2017M3D8A1092015). Also, this work was supported by the Ewha Womans University Research Grant of 2018.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Diagnostic ratio
  • N-alkanes
  • PAHs
  • Source characteristics
  • Toxicity


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