Estimating population exposure to ambient polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon in the United States - Part II: Source apportionment and cancer risk assessment. Academic Article uri icon


  • A revised Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model was developed to simulate the emission, reactions, transport, deposition and gas-to-particle partitioning processes of 16 priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), as described in Part I of the two-part series. The updated CMAQ model was applied in this study to quantify the contributions of different emission sources to the predicted PAH concentrations and excess cancer risk in the United States (US) in 2011. The cancer risk in the continental US due to inhalation exposure of outdoor naphthalene (NAPH) and seven larger carcinogenic PAHs (cPAHs) was predicted to be significant. The incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) exceeds 110-5 in many urban and industrial areas. Exposure to PAHs was estimated to result in 5704 (608-10,800) excess lifetime cancer cases. Point sources not related with energy generation and the oil and gas processes account for approximately 31% of the excess cancer cases, followed by non-road engines with 18.6% contributions. Contributions of residential wood combustion (16.2%) are similar to that of transportation-related sources (mostly motor vehicles with small contributions from railway and marine vessels; 13.4%). The oil and gas industry emissions, although large contributors to high concentrations of cPAHs regionally, are only responsible of 4.3% of the excess cancer cases, which is similar to the contributions of non-US sources (6.8%) and non-point sources (7.2%). The power generation units pose the most minimal impact on excess cancer risk, with contributions of approximately 2.3%.

published proceedings

  • Environ Int

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, J., Wang, P., Li, J., Mendola, P., Sherman, S., & Ying, Q. i.

citation count

  • 33

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Jie||Wang, Peng||Li, Jingyi||Mendola, Pauline||Sherman, Seth||Ying, Qi

publication date

  • December 2016