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Associated topic:  Persistent organic pollutants

Emissions monitoring period: since 1990

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017

 

Source of the pollutant

PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are compounds with one or more aromatic nuclei. Some highly volatile PAHs (such as naphtalene) are NMVOCs, but most are found in particulate form. There are a great many types.

PAHs form in relatively high proportions during combustion, especially when the combustion process is incomplete. This occurs in particular during biomass combustion in domestic heating appliances when combustion conditions are not properly managed. For example, in combustion plants, where PAHs are most frequently emitted, about 70 compounds have been identified, half of which are biologically active. The highest levels of PAH emissions are usually made up of those with the lowest molecular weight. A small proportion of emissions may be in gaseous form, the remainder being released as particulate matter.

Which are the compounds covered by legislation and regulations?

The Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (UNECE), the 1998 Aarhus Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants and European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) n°850/2004 of 29 April 2004 cover four compounds:

    • benzo(a)pyrene,
    • benzo(b)fluoranthene,
    • benzo(k)fluoranthene,
    • indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene.

For the purposes of the aforementioned legislation, the term PAHs therefore covers these four compounds only.

However, French regulations (Ministerial Order of 2 February 1998 as amended and Orders on combustion plants subject to declarations or authorisations) have introduced emission limit values for more PAHs.

The “regulated” PAHs are defined in Annex 1 of the Ministerial Order published on 7 July 2009 including air and water analysis methods in industrial installations classified for environmental protection purposes) and in the reference standards. The NF X 433329 standard is required for measuring PAH emissions into the air from stationary sources. It takes eight PAHs into account including the four PAHs listed above, and in addition:

    • benzo(g,h,i)perylene,
    • fluoranthene,
    • dibenzo(a,h)anthracene,
    • benzo(a)anthracene.

Each of these eight compounds (regulated PAHs) is quantified separately by CITEPA.

The Order of 31 January 2008, as amended, concerning the register and annual reporting of pollutant emissions and waste covers eight PAHs. The atmospheric emissions of PAHs that must be declared if they are in excess of the mandatory limit values are the total for the four PAHs covered by the UNECE Aarhus Protocol, and, taken into account separately, the four UNECE PAHs, two PAHs covered by the Ministerial Order of 2 February 1998 (FluorA and BghiPe) and two other PAHs not previously covered (anthracene and naphthalene):

    • benzo(a)pyrene,
    • benzo(b)fluoranthene,
    • benzo(k)fluoranthene,
    • indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene,
    • benzo(g,h,i)perylene,
    • anthracene,
    • fluoranthene,
    • naphtalene.

Reducing toxic substances was a priority in the 2nd French National Health and Environment Plan (2009-2013) (PNSE 2) published in July 2009. In particular, PAH emissions wer to be reduced by 30% from 2009 to 2013.

 

Effect of the pollutant

Besides their carcinogenic properties, PAHs also have mutagenic properties depending on the chemical structure of the metabolites formed. They can also weaken immune responses, thus increasing risks of infection.

Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) is one of the most toxic compounds in the PAH family. It is mutagenic and highly carcinogenic.

 

Emissions of the four PAHs covered by the Aarhus Protocol

Sub-sectors* with the highest emission levels in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Residential sector including: 64% including:
Combustion of heating appliances (boilers, inserts, closed and open fireplaces, stoves, etc.) 59%
Open burning of household garden wastes and other (vehicle burning, etc.) 4.9%
2 Diesel-fuelled passenger cars 8.1%
3 Crops 6.7%
3 Solid mineral fuel conversion - iron and steel 6.1%
4 Other agricultural sources (combustion plants and off-road mobile machinery) 2.7%

*: one sector out of six (energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.

 

Emissions and trends (PAHs)

Minimum observed: 19 t in 2014
Maximum observed: 52 t in 1991
Emissions in 2015: 19 t
Trends 2015/1990: -57.6%
Trends 2015/maximum: -63.2%
Trends 2015/minimum: +0.4%

Measurement unit: kg (kilogramme)
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

 Graph HAP 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab HAP 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate

 

Analysis

The Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) emissions described here concern the four PAHs covered by the Aarhus Protocol relative to the POP (Persistent Organic Pollutants) from 1998 and by the regulation n°850/2004 of the European Parliament and council from 29 April 2004... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

 

Emissions of the eight regulated PAHs

Emissions and trends

The eight PAH species monitored individually by CITEPA are:

    • benzo(a)pyrene,
    • benzo(b)fluoranthene,
    • benzo(k)fluoranthene,
    • indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene.
    • benzo(g,h,i)perylene,
    • fluoranthene,
    • dibenzo(a,h)anthracene,
    • benzo(a)anthracene.

These regulated PAHs are the eight PAHs covered by the amended Order of 2 February 1998 (and therefore include the four PAHs covered by the Aarhus Protocol).

The emissions of these eight PAHs covered by French regulations are estimated at... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

Graph HAP reglementes 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

Source CITEPA / SECTEN Format – April 2017

Tab HAP reglementes 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate

 Graph HAP speciation 17

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab HAP speciation 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.

 

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017