Wednesday, 12 April 2017 14:17

A review of airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Egypt

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A review of airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Egypt
Assmaa M. El-Mekawy1, Atef M.F. Mohammed1, Salwa K. M. Hassan1
1Air Pollution Department, National Research Centre, Giza, Egypt
*Corresponding author: Asmaa M. El-Mekawy, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: +20 2 33370931; Tel: +20 2 33371362
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) makea class of organic compounds consisting of two or more fused aromatic rings in linear, angular or cluster arrangements. There are hundreds of PAH compounds in the environment, but only 16 of them are included in the priority pollutants list of US EPA. PAHs exist in the atmosphere as gases and are adsorbed to airborne particulate matter. The main aim of this article was to review the concentrations of PAHs in suspended particulate matter (PM) collected from different sites in Egypt (Outdoor and Indoor) during different periods.
The levels of PAHs in outdoor PM samples collected from Shoubra El-Kheima and Helwan in Greater Cairo were higher than WHO guideline (870 ng/m3 for PAH in occupational settings). While the levels of PAHs in PM samples collected from El-Abasya, El Dokki, El Teppen and Damietta City were lower than WHO Guidelines. In addition, these results May be attributed to anthropogenic activities (vehicle emission, open burning, thermal power plants, industrial emission) in Shoubra El-Kheima and Helwan areas. Furthermore, the levels of PAHs in PM samples were higher than that measured in Chicago-USA, Harbin-China, Guangzhou-China, Seoul-Korea, Athens-Greece, Bursa-Turkey and Flanders- Belgium. The annual mean concentrations of ΣPAHs in indoor PM collected from 4 sites in Helwan city were 1019.8, 694.7,1038.7 and 811.1 ng/m3 for sites 1 (Helwan center), 2 (highly traffic area in Helwan center) , 3 (Wady Hoff) and 4 (Torra) , respectively. In addition, PAHs concentrations demonstrated considerable seasonal variations, the highest levels were found during spring and summer, while the lowest values were found in winter season for all sites in Helwan city.

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