Using charcoal as base material reduces mosquito coil emissions of toxins.

Journal Article

Mosquito coils are used to prevent mosquito exposures indoors by approximately 2 billion people worldwide. However, the smoldering of organic matters used as base materials of mosquito coils emits particulate and gaseous toxic compounds. A previous study indicates that emission rates of toxic compounds depend on types of base materials and can be high enough to generate room concentrations markedly higher than health based standards or references. The objective of this study is to evaluate a new type of mosquito coil that uses charcoal powder as base material and to compare its emission rates with those of several current-market brands and several brands tested in the previous study. Results show that the charcoal-based coil had emission rates of PM(2.5) mass, total particle number, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and aldehydes, substantially (up to 10 times) lower than other tested conventional mosquito coils. Results also show that particles freshly generated from burning mosquito coils were all fine and mostly ultrafine in size. This study presents emission rates for PM(2.5) mass, total particle number, gas-phase and particle-phase PAHs, 14 aldehydes and acetone, and 10 volatile hydrocarbons. These data, along with emission rates presented in the previous study are useful for estimating indoor concentrations of toxic compounds generated from mosquito coil uses. Practical Implications Mosquito coils are widely used indoors to prevent mosquitoes from entering indoor environments. This is achieved through the release of insecticides impregnated in biomass base materials of mosquito coils during coil combustion. A previous study reported that burning one mosquito coil releases the same amount of fine particles as burning 75-135 cigarettes, largely depending on what biomass (saw dust or coconut husk) is used as base material. This 'follow-up' study measured several current-market brands of mosquito coils, including a new charcoal-based coil labeled as smokeless coil by the China Environmental Labeling, for their emissions of particulate and gaseous pollutants. Results show that using charcoal powder as base material reduces fine particle emissions by a factor of 5-10 and also reduces emissions of pollutants such as formaldehyde and PAHs substantially.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zhang, L; Jiang, Z; Tong, J; Wang, Z; Han, Z; Zhang, J

Published Date

  • April 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 176 - 184

PubMed ID

  • 20409195

Pubmed Central ID

  • 20409195

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1600-0668

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0905-6947

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2009.00639.x


  • eng