Cancer risk from gaseous carbonyl compounds in indoor environment generated from household coal combustion in Xuanwei, China

Ka Hei Lui, Wen Ting Dai, Chi Sing Chan, Linwei Tian, Bo Fu Ning, Yiping Zhou, Xiaolin Song, Bei Wang, Jinwen Li, Jun Ji Cao, Shuncheng Lee, Kin Fai Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Airborne carbonyls were characterized from emitted indoor coal combustion. Samples were collected in Xuanwei (Yunnan Province), a region in China with a high rate of lung cancer. Eleven of 19 types of samples (58%) demonstrated formaldehyde concentrations higher than the World Health Organization exposure limit (a 30-min average of 100 μg m−3). Different positive significant correlations between glyoxal/methylglyoxal and formaldehyde/acetaldehyde concentrations were observed, suggesting possible different characteristics in emissions between two pairs of carbonyl compounds. A sample in the highest inhalation risk shows 29.2 times higher risk than the lowest sample, suggesting different coal sampling locations could contribute to the variation of inhalation risk. Inhabitants in Xuanwei also tend to spend more time cooking and more days per year indoors than the national average. The calculated cancer risk ranged from 2.2–63 × 10−5, which shows 13 types of samples at high-risk level. Cumulative effect in combination with different carbonyls could have contributed to the additive actual inhalation cancer risk. There is a need to explicitly address the health effects of environmentally relevant doses, considering life-long exposure in indoor dwellings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17500-17510
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Cancer risk
  • Carbonyl
  • Coal
  • Indoor air

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this