Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Airborne persistent toxic substances (PTS) in China: occurrence and its application associated with air pollution


In recent years, China suffered extensive air pollution due to the rapidly expanding economic and industrial developments. Its severe impact on human health has raised great concern currently. Persistent toxic substances (PTS), a large group of environmental pollutants, have also received much attention due to their adverse effects on both the ecosystem and public health. However, limited studies have been conducted to reveal the airborne PTS associated with air pollution at the national scale in China. In this review, we summarized the occurrence and variation of airborne PTS in China, especially in megacities. These PTS included polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), halogenated flame retardants (HFRs), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals. The implication of their occurrence associated with air pollution was discussed, and the emission source of these chemicals was concluded. Most reviewed studies have been conducted in east and south China with more developed economy and industry. Severe contamination of airborne PTS was generally occurred in the megacities with large populations, such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. However, the summarized results suggested that industrial production and product consumption are the major sources of most PTS in the urban environment, while unintentional emission during the anthropogenic activities is an important contributor to airborne PTS. It is important that fine particle serves as a major carrier of most airborne PTS, which facilitates the long-range atmospheric transport (LRAT) of PTS, and therefore, increases the exposure risk of human body to these pollutants. This implied that not only the concentration and chemical composition of fine particle but also the absorbed PTS are of particular concern when air pollution occurs.

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 17 Apr 2017, accepted on 30 Jun 2017 and first published on 04 Jul 2017

Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00187H
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
  •   Request permissions

    Airborne persistent toxic substances (PTS) in China: occurrence and its application associated with air pollution

    P. Wang, Q. Zhang, Y. Li, J. Matsiko, Y. Zhang and G. Jiang, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00187H

Search articles by author