Positive matrix factorization on source apportionment for typical pollutants in different environmental media: a review
A bibliometric analysis of published papers with the key words “positive matrix factorization” and “source apportionment” in ‘Web of Science’, reveals that more than 1000 papers are associated with this research and that approximately 50% of these were produced in Asia. As a receptor-based model, positive matrix factorization (PMF) has been widely used for source apportionment of various environmental pollutants, such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as inorganic cations and anions in the last decade. In this review, based on the papers mainly from 2008 to 2018 that focused on source apportionment of pollutants in different environmental media, we provide a comparison and summary of the source categories of typical environmental pollutants, with a special focus on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), apportioned using PMF. Based on the statistical average, coal combustion and vehicular emission, are shown to be the two most common sources of PAHs, and contribute much more to emissions than other sources, such as biomass burning, biogenic sources and waste incineration. Heavy metals were mainly from agricultural activities, industrial and vehicular emissions and mining activities. Quantitative source apportionment on pollutants such as VOCs and particulate matter were also apportioned, showing a prominent contribution from fossil-fuel combustion. We conclude that, aside from natural sources, abatement strategies should be focused on changes in energy structure and industrial activities, especially in China. Source apportionment of typical POPs including polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) is less comprehensive and further study is required.