The Science of the total environment

Source apportionment and health risk assessment among specific age groups during haze and non-haze episodes in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

PMID 28575833


This study aims to determine PM2.5 concentrations and their composition during haze and non-haze episodes in Kuala Lumpur. In order to investigate the origin of the measured air masses, the Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) and Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS) were applied. Source apportionment of PM2.5 was determined using Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF). The carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health risks were estimated using the United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) method. PM2.5 samples were collected from the centre of the city using a high-volume air sampler (HVS). The results showed that the mean PM2.5 concentrations collected during pre-haze, haze and post-haze periods were 24.5±12.0μgm(-3), 72.3±38.0μgm(-3) and 14.3±3.58μgm(-3), respectively. The highest concentration of PM2.5 during haze episode was five times higher than World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. Inorganic compositions of PM2.5, including trace elements and water soluble ions were determined using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and ion chromatography (IC), respectively. The major trace elements identified were K, Al, Ca, Mg and Fe which accounted for approximately 93%, 91% and 92% of the overall metals' portions recorded during pre-haze, haze and post-haze periods, respectively. For water-soluble ions, secondary inorganic aerosols (SO4(2-), NO3(-) and NH4(+)) contributed around 12%, 43% and 16% of the overall PM2.5 mass during pre-haze, haze and post-haze periods, respectively. During haze periods, the predominant source identified using PMF was secondary inorganic aerosol (SIA) and biomass burning where the NAME simulations indicate the importance of fires in Sumatra, Indonesia. The main source during pre-haze and post-haze were mix SIA and road dust as well as mineral dust, respectively. The highest non-carcinogenic health risk during haze episode was estimated among the infant group (HI=1.06) while the highest carcinogenic health risk was estimated among the adult group (2.27×10(-5)).

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