Emission of oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from indoor solid fuel combustion

Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Apr 15;45(8):3459-65. doi: 10.1021/es104364t. Epub 2011 Mar 4.


Indoor solid fuel combustion is a dominant source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and oxygenated PAHs (OPAHs) and the latter are believed to be more toxic than the former. However, there is limited quantitative information on the emissions of OPAHs from solid fuel combustion. In this study, emission factors of OPAHs (EF(OPAH)) for nine commonly used crop residues and five coals burnt in typical residential stoves widely used in rural China were measured under simulated kitchen conditions. The total EF(OPAH) ranged from 2.8 ± 0.2 to 8.1 ± 2.2 mg/kg for tested crop residues and from 0.043 to 71 mg/kg for various coals and 9-fluorenone was the most abundant specie. The EF(OPAH) for indoor crop residue burning were 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than those from open burning, and they were affected by fuel properties and combustion conditions, like moisture and combustion efficiency. For both crop residues and coals, significantly positive correlations were found between EFs for the individual OPAHs and the parent PAHs. An oxygenation rate, R(o), was defined as the ratio of the EFs between the oxygenated and parent PAH species to describe the formation potential of OPAHs. For the studied OPAH/PAH pairs, mean R(o) values were 0.16-0.89 for crop residues and 0.03-0.25 for coals. R(o) for crop residues burned in the cooking stove were much higher than those for open burning and much lower than those in ambient air, indicating the influence of secondary formation of OPAH and loss of PAHs. In comparison with parent PAHs, OPAHs showed a higher tendency to be associated with particulate matter (PM), especially fine PM, and the dominate size ranges were 0.7-2.1 μm for crop residues and high caking coals and <0.7 μm for the tested low caking briquettes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / chemistry
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / statistics & numerical data
  • Cooking / statistics & numerical data
  • Crops, Agricultural / chemistry
  • Fossil Fuels / analysis*
  • Oxygen / chemistry
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / chemistry


  • Air Pollutants
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Oxygen