Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations in Urban Chinese Cities, 2005–2016: A Systematic Review

He, Mike Zhongyu; Zeng, Xiange; Zhang, Zhang; Kinney, Patrick L.

Background: Particulate matter pollution has become a growing health concern over the past few decades globally. The problem is especially evident in China, where particulate matter levels prior to 2013 are publically unavailable. We conducted a systematic review of scientific literature that reported fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in different regions of China from 2005 to 2016. Methods: We searched for English articles in PubMed and Embase and for Chinese articles in the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI). We evaluated the studies overall and categorized the collected data into six geographical regions and three economic regions. Results: The mean (SD) PM2.5 concentration, weighted by the number of sampling days, was 60.64 (33.27) µg/m3 for all geographic regions and 71.99 (30.20) µg/m3 for all economic regions. A one-way ANOVA shows statistically significant differences in PM2.5 concentrations between the various geographic regions (F = 14.91, p < 0.0001) and the three economic regions (F = 4.55, p = 0.01). Conclusions: This review identifies quantifiable differences in fine particulate matter concentrations across regions of China. The highest levels of fine particulate matter were found in the northern and northwestern regions and especially Beijing. The high percentage of data points exceeding current federal regulation standards suggests that fine particulate matter pollution remains a huge problem for China. As pre-2013 emissions data remain largely unavailable, we hope that the data aggregated from this systematic review can be incorporated into current and future models for more accurate historical PM2.5 estimates.

Geographic Areas


Also Published In

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

More About This Work

Academic Units
Environmental Health Sciences
Published Here
September 15, 2017