Formation and Evolution of Solvent-Extracted and Nonextractable Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals in Fly Ash of Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators. Academic Article uri icon


  • Environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) are emerging contaminants occurring in combustion-borne particulates and atmospheric particulate matter, but information on their formation and behavior on fly ash from municipal solid waste (MSW) incinerators is scarce. Here, we have found that MSW-associated fly ash samples contain an EPFR concentration of 3-10 × 1015 spins g-1, a line width (ΔHp-p) of ∼8.6 G, and a g-factor of 2.0032-2.0038. These EPFRs are proposed to be mixtures of carbon-centered and oxygen-centered free radicals. Fractionation of the fly ash-associated EPFRs into solvent-extracted and nonextractable radicals suggests that the solvent-extracted part accounts for ∼45-73% of the total amount of EPFRs. Spin densities of solvent-extracted EPFRs correlate positively with the concentrations of Fe, Cu, Mn, Ti, and Zn, whereas similar correlations are comparatively insignificant for nonextractable EPFRs. Under natural conditions, these two types of EPFRs exhibit different stabilization that solvent-extracted EPFRs are relatively unstable, whereas the nonextractable fraction possesses a long life span. Significant correlations between concentrations of solvent-extracted EPFRs and generation of hydroxyl and superoxide radicals are found. Overall, our results suggest that the fractionated solvent-extracted and nonextractable EPFRs may experience different formation and stabilization processes and health effects.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhao, S., Gao, P., Miao, D., Wu, L., Qian, Y., Chen, S., Sharma, V. K., & Jia, H.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • August 2019