Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin

Comparison of Air Pollution in Metropolises in China (Beijing) and Japan (Osaka and Nagoya) on the Basis of the Levels of Contaminants and Mutagenicity.

PMID 26934931


Public concern regarding the transport of air pollutants from mainland East Asia to the leeward area by the prevailing westerlies in spring and winter monsoon has been growing in recent years. We collected total suspended particle (TSP) in Beijing, a metropolis of China located windward of Japan, in spring (late February 2011-May 2011) and in winter (November 2012-early February 2013), then analyzed metals, ions, and organic compounds and mutagenicity, and compared the pollution levels with samples collected at two Japanese metropolises (Osaka and Nagoya) during the same periods. The medians of concentration of TSP and other factors in Beijing were much larger than those in the Japanese metropolises. Especially, the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were remarkably high in Beijing in winter, and the median of total PAHs concentration in Beijing was 62-63 times larger than that in the Japanese sites. The mutagenicity of TSP from Beijing toward Salmonella typhimurium YG1024, with and without a mammalian metabolic system (S9 mix), was 13-25 times higher than that from the Japanese sites in winter. These results suggest that air pollution levels in Beijing are very high compared with those at the two Japanese metropolises we evaluated. The diagnostic ratios of PAHs and nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (NPAHs) suggest that the major sources of PAHs and NPAHs in Beijing are different from those at the two Japanese sites in winter, and that the major source in Beijing is coal/biomass combustion.

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