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[en] Coal-fired power plants (CFPPs) represent important source of atmospheric PAHs, however, their emission characterization are still largely unknown. In this work, the concentration, distribution and gas-particle partitioning of PM_1_0- and gas-phase PAHs in flue gas emitted from different coal-fired utility boilers were investigated. Moreover, concentration and distribution in airborne PAHs from different functional areas of power plants were studied. People's inhalatory and dermal exposures to airborne PAHs at these sites were estimated and their resultant lung cancer and skin cancer risks were assessed. Results indicated that the boiler capacity and operation conditions have significant effect on PAH concentrations in both PM_1_0 and gas phases due to the variation of combustion efficiency, whereas they take neglected effect on PAH distributions. The wet flue gas desulphurization (WFGD) takes significant effect on the scavenging of PAH in both PM_1_0 and gas phases, higher scavenging efficiency were found for less volatile PAHs. PAH partitioning is dominated by absorption into organic matter and accompanied by adsorption onto PM_1_0 surface. In addition, different partitioning mechanism is observed for individual PAHs, which is assumed arising from their chemical affinity and vapor pressure. Risk assessment indicates that both inhalation and dermal contact greatly contribute to the cancer risk for CFPP workers and nearby residents. People working in workshop are exposed to greater inhalation and dermal exposure risk than people living in nearby vicinity and working office. - Highlights: • PAH distribution in PM_1_0 and gas phases primarily depend on the vapor pressure. • Combustion conditions and WFGD show typical effects on PAH level and profile. • PAH partitioning is dominated by absorption and also accompanied by adsorption. • Individual PAHs show different partitioning mechanisms in PM_1_0- and gas-phases. • People in workshop suffer greater cancer risk than in vicinity and working office.