As one of the most important transportation hubs and industrial bases in China, Zhengzhou has suffered from serious PM2.5 pollution for a long time. However, the investigation of contamination status and possible exposure risks of environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) in PM2.5 from Zhengzhou is rare. In this work, a comprehensive study of pollution levels, seasonal variations, sources, and potential health risks of PM2.5-bound EPFRs in Zhengzhou was conducted for the first time. The atmospheric concentrations of EPFRs in PM2.5 from Zhengzhou ranged from 1.732 × 1012 spin m−3 to 7.182 × 1014 spin m−3 between 2019 and 2020. Relatively serious contamination was noticed in winter and spring. Primary fossil fuel combustion and Fe-mediated secondary formation were apportioned as possible sources of PM2.5-bound EPFRs in Zhengzhou. Moreover, to avert the bias of the toxicity assessment induced by utilization of incompletely extracted EPFRs from sample filter, simulatively generated EPFRs were applied to toxicological evaluations (cell viability and reactive oxygen species assays). Corresponding experimental dosages were based on the estimated adults’ annual exposure amounts of EPFRs in real PM2.5 samples. The results elucidated that EPFRs might cause growth inhibition and oxidative stress of human lung cells, suggesting the possible exposure-induced health concerns for local people in Zhengzhou. This study provides practical information of real contamination status of PM2.5-bound EPFRs in Zhengzhou, which is favorable to local air pollution control and reduction of exposure risks on public health in central China.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Contamination profiles
- Environmentally persistent free radicals
- Health risks