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[Publication]: Nitrated and parent PAHs in the surface water of Lake Taihu, China: Occurrence, distribution, source, and human health risk assessment

Prof. Huan He published a research paper in Journal of Environmental Science (2021, 102, 159-169)

Nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (NPAHs) have toxic potentials that are higher than those of their corresponding parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and thus have received increasing attention in recent years. In this study, the occurrence, distribution, source, and human health risk assessment of 15 NPAHs and 16 PAHs were investigated in the surface water from 20 sampling sites of Lake Taihu during the dry, normal, and flood seasons of 2018. The ΣPAH concentrations ranged from 255 to 7298 ng/L and the ΣNPAH concentrations ranged from not-detected (ND) to 212 ng/L. Among the target analytes, 2-nitrofluorene (2-nFlu) was the predominant NPAH, with a detection frequency ranging from 85% to 90% and a maximum concentration of 56.2 ng/L. The three-ringed and four-ringed NPAHs and PAHs comprised the majority of the detected compounds. In terms of seasonal variation, the highest levels of the ΣNPAHs and ΣPAHs were in the dry season and flood season, respectively. Diagnostic ratio analysis indicated that the prime source of NPAHs was direct combustion, whereas in the case of PAHs the contribution was predominantly from a mixed pattern including pollution from unburned petroleum and petroleum combustion. The human health risk of NPAHs and PAHs was evaluated using a lifetime carcinogenic risk assessment model. The carcinogenic risk level of the targets ranged from 2.09 × 10−7 to 5.75 × 10−5 and some surface water samples posed a potential health risk.