Sources, deposition flux and carcinogenic potential of PM2.5-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea (Gdynia, Poland)

Karolina Julia Skalska, Anita Urszula Lewandowska, Marta Staniszewska, Andrzej Riendl, Agnieszka Witkowska, Lucyna Falkowska

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Concentrations of 16 PAHs of different molecular weight and carcinogenic potency were measured in PM2.5 aerosols collected in the coastal zone of southern Baltic Sea (Gdynia, Poland) during the end of the heating and beginning of the non-heating season of 2012. Obtained results showed that coal combustion (pyrogenic source) contributed to the highest emission of PAHs during the heating season. However, similar concentrations of highly carcinogenic PAHs were detected in the non-heating period. The analysis of prevailing wind directions, air mass trajectories and diagnostic PAH ratios revealed that in addition to land transport emission (mainly from diesel vehicles), the increase in sea shipping traffic during the non-heating season contributed to the high concentrations of detected carcinogenic PAHs. We conclude that the increasing maritime activity in the southern Baltic Sea region might have an adverse effect on both environmental and human health. Therefore, it should receive more attention by the Polish government as a pollutant source.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1291–1301
Number of pages11
JournalAir Quality, Atmosphere and Health
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2019


  • PM2.5
  • PAHs
  • diagnostic ratios
  • deposition flux
  • BaP-TEQ

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