Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) in the surrounding environment (outdoor) and workplace air of two municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWIs, T and M) were characterized and compared. T and M represented two typical municipal solid waste incinerators in the north of Taiwan, which have different processes for controlling the PCDD/F emissions. The results of this study are summarized as follows. (1) The total PCDD/F and the total PCDD/F WHO-TEQ concentrations in the workplace air were 5-13 and 5-15 times higher than those in the outdoor air, respectively. Obviously, it is worthwhile to explore more on health risk assessment for exposure of PCDD/Fs emitted from MSWIs, particularly in the workplace air. (2) Mean total PCDD/F I-TEQ concentrations in the outdoor air ranged between 0.0216 and 0.155 pg I-TEQ/Nm3 and averaged 0.0783 pg I-TEQ/Nm3 (0.0828 pg WHO-TEQ/Nm3) during two seasons for two MSWIs, which were 6.5-fold higher than that of a remote site (0.0119 pg I-TEQ/Nm3 or 0.0132 pg WHO-TEQ/Nm3) in Taiwan. However, the above outdoor air concentration levels in the MSWIs were still much lower than the air quality limitation of PCDD/Fs (0.6 pg I-TEQ/Nm3) in Japan [http://www.env.go.jp/en/topic/pops/Appendix/00report/report.pdf]. (3) PCDFs were the primary toxicity distributors for PCDD/Fs in the outdoor air, since the ratios of PCDDs/PCDFs (I-TEQ) at all sampling sites ranged from 0.180 to 0.492 and were less than unity. (4) The OCDD, OCDF, 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDD and 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDF were the four dominant species in both workplace and outdoor air near MSWIs. (5) By spraying water on and wetting both the fly and bottom ashes, the mean total PCDD/F I-TEQ concentration in the workplace air was reduced 86.9% in the T MSWI. The above results indicate an appropriate improving action did inhibit the fugitive emission of PCDD/Fs and reduce the health risk of workers during work handling ashes in MSWIs.
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